Hoax calls are putting the lives of police officers and the public at risk
That is the stark warning from Superintendent Marc Attwell after armed officers went to an address in the south Wales valleys after a hoax call was made earlier this month.
The caller had told police in a 999 call that there was a fight involving people with knives in a neighbour’s garden.
But when officers turned up, there was nothing and the caller, when questioned, denied all knowledge.
Superintendent Marc Attwell who is in charge of operational policing for the south Wales valleys said: “A fight involving knives poses a serious and grave threat to those involved, the general public, and of course to officers. This call required firearms units to respond with blue lights and that is an emergency response through tight and narrow public streets.
“Of course, officers are all well trained in all aspects, but there is always risk – you cannot mitigate against somebody stepping out into a road or pulling out of a junction despite loud and clear warnings of blue lights and sirens.
“There is also the reality that responding to one incident can impact on our abilities to respond to another emergency, so responding to hoax calls can put somebody in their genuine moment of need in grave danger.
“Hoax calls are quite literally putting lives at risk and are doing so on a number of levels.”
In this recent example, the caller denied all knowledge of the call, but officers were able to directly link him to the 999 call and he was issued with fixed penalty notice.
Further incidents could result in him being prosecuted in court for wasting police time, which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months.
Superintendent Attwell, said: “Hoax calls are nothing new. Unfortunately they have plagued the emergency services since records began, but, I hope that raising awareness of the dangers will at least make people sit up, take notice, and realise that their actions could take a life.”