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Phone companies ‘should blacklist hoax 999 callers’ –

Hoax calls to the Met police tripled last year and cost the fire brigade £1.6million

The Mayor of London should encourage mobile phone operators to consider blacklisting hoax emergency callers that are costing the taxpayer millions of pounds, says Conservative London Assembly member Tony Arbour.

Hoax calls to the Metropolitan Police tripled over the past three years and cost London Fire Brigade £1.6million in 2015, showed figures obtained by Assembly Member Arbour in a recent written question to the Mayor of London.

London Fire Brigade attended more than 1,257 malicious false alarms last year, wasting over 2,387 attendance hours.

The Met meanwhile received 3,671 hoax calls by October 2015, a near 300 per cent rise from the 1,259 it handled in 2012. The statistics also showed 811 hoax calls cost the London Ambulance Service £152,000 in 2014.

Assembly member Arbour is calling on Boris Johnson to encourage mobile operators to blacklist regular nuisance callers, temporarily preventing them from obtaining a mobile phone number. He will be raising the issue at Mayor’s Question Time on January 20.

Conservative London Assembly member Tony Arbour said:

“These figures show that hoax callers continue to be an expensive and dangerous burden on our vital emergency services. Blacklisting individuals who abuse the emergency 999 number would be a strong disincentive to anyone thinking of playing such life-threatening pranks. This proposal would require the co-operation of mobile phone operators but it is an avenue worth exploring if it has the potential to save a life. Irresponsible people need to be taught that wasting police, paramedics’ or firefighters’ time is a serious offence. I will be raising the issue with Boris Johnson at the next Mayor’s Question Time and asking him to urge mobile phone operators to consider these measures.”