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FIRE DISPUTE: HOAX CALLERS ARE BEING DISCONNECTED AND ARRESTED

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The government has reinforced its tough stance on hoax callers...
The government has reinforced its tough stance on hoax callers

during the fire dispute. Already seven people around the country have

been arrested and 114 people referred for disconnection since last

Friday.

Tough measures including prompt disconnection and fast-track

prosecutions have been put into place to crack down on hoax callers.

The revised procedures cover both mobile telephones and domestic

lines and will be in force for the duration of the fire dispute.

Areas most disrupted by hoax callers over the last three days include

London (17% of regional calls), Northern Ireland (18% of regional

calls), Durham (14%of regional calls), South Wales (16% of regional

calls) and North Yorkshire (13% of regional calls).

Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth said:

'The government's message is clear - if you make a hoax call you run

the real risk of being disconnected and arrested. We are determined

to crack down on this highly irresponsible behaviour that puts

people's lives at risk.

'The emergency services during this sensitive period should be

allowed to go about their business unhindered by the perpetrators of

these dangerous and selfish calls.

'These tough measures are working, as hoax calls have fallen in

comparison to the last 48 hour strike.'

The measures to deter emergency service hoax callers have the full

backing of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Ambulance

Service Association and Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers

Association and were introduced to combat the significant number of

hoax calls during the previous 48-hour fire strike.

Notes

Hoax call figures are collated by the Police National Information

Co-ordination Centre (PNICC) from data collected from regional Joint

Operation Centres (JOC).

Figures for the same period last year are not available therefore no

comparison can be made.

Hoax calls are defined on a regional level and these figures could

include some 'false calls', defined as those calls made with good

intent that a fire response is needed, but there is no sign of fire

on arrival.

The figure given for London incorporates the Metropolitan police and

the City of London Police.

The data used is taken from the period 0001 hours 25 November 2002 to

2359 hours 27 November 2002.

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