ACCIDENTAL ‘pocket dials’ to 999 are ‘wasting precious time’ say Warwickshire Police, after revealing that over one in ten emergency calls made to the force in June was abandoned.
That month, the force received 8,674 emergency 999 calls – of which 1,167 hung up before the caller spoke to a member of the emergency services or confirmed to an operator that they were safe and well.
A Warwickshire Police spokesperson said the most common type of abandoned call was people accidentally ‘pocket-dialling’ emergency services – when an unlocked mobile phone accidentally calls 999 – ahead of accidental calls from children, or callers hanging up when they realise another person has called emergency services.
Kim Perkin, Senior Public Contact Manager at Warwickshire Police, said: “When 999 is dialled accidentally, there are various checks and measures that need to be carried out by the call handler to assess whether the caller is in danger.
“If it is an accidental call, it can waste precious time that could otherwise be spent helping someone with an emergency and potentially saving a life.
“We understand that accidents happen, but we want people to be extra conscious that these mistakes could be putting other people at risk by tying up police resources.
“If you do realise you have dialled 999 accidentally, please don’t hang up – stay on the line and the call handler can carry out checks to ensure you are safe and well. This saves us a lot of time.
“The majority of smart phones have a feature to make an emergency call to the police easily, which means people can easily get the help they need when they’re in a genuine emergency. So we’re asking people to please just take a minute to check their phone settings, and reduce the chances of calling 999 accidentally.”
Android phones have a built-in security app called ‘Smart Lock’ which automatically locks the device when it’s not around the owner, reducing the risk of inadvertently pocket-dialling 999.
Settings on Apple (iOS) phones can also be adjusted to change what features can and cannot be used whilst the device is locked.
Police recommend keeping phones out of reach from children, locking phones before putting them in pockets, talking to children about when to call 999, and to stay on the line if 999 is called by accident.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/4trs7r6w for more information on how to reduce the risk of pocket-dialling.