Essex hoax fire calls are down, but ‘still a problem’

HOAX calls to Essex County Fire and Rescue have dropped by 65 per cent in the last five years but the service still gets on average more than two per day.

Figures released on Thursday (September 9) show a steady decline in the number of hoax calls, dropping from 1489 in 2004 to 531 in 2009.

However the issue is still a major problem and will be continued to be monitored using computers that flag up regular callers who then face being disconnected.

Assistant divisional officer Vernon Kendall: “The menace affects all people living within Essex and we are doing all we can to deter hoax callers.

“We actively monitor calls on a daily basis and have computers working to flag multiple hoax call offenders, these phones are then disconnected.”

ECFRS is working in close partnership with premises across the county where hoax calls have become a problem.

The aim is to develop a strategy to combat what is described as a “socially unacceptable practice”.

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Officer Kendall added: “We track exactly where the calls come from and this allows us to build up a pattern to show where we are most likely to receive these calls from – this allows us to focus our hoax calls community work on areas it is needed most.

“The problem not only costs money, it also consumes valuable resources and it could potentially cost people’s lives, because appliances are not available to protect the public when and where we should be.”

The figures show that there were 1599 hoax calls in 2003; 1489 in 2004; 1283 in 2005; 1149 in 2006; 951 in 2007; 835 in 2008; and 531 in 2009.

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