Published: 01 August 2017
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many 999 calls have been made annually in the last three years; (b) what proportion of these calls were for emergencies or which required direct police intervention; and (c) how does the police handle calls which do not require police attention and what measures are available to reduce such calls which drain police resources.
1. Between 2014 and 2016, Police received an average of about 1.3 million '999' calls annually. This amounts to slightly more than 3,500 calls every day.
2. About 40% of these calls required direct Police intervention, and Police resources were dispatched. The remaining calls were either nuisance calls or misdirected calls that did not require Police attention. There was a wide range of misdirected calls, including complaints on municipal issues like the cleanliness of common properties, and issues under other agencies' purview such as illegal hawking.
3. When Police emergency call operators receive misdirected calls, they will advise the callers on the proper channels to report such issues. Examples of such channels include the feedback lines of the relevant statutory boards or town councils. The Police also regularly educate the public on the correct use of the '999' hotline, through engaging schools and partnering the media.
4. The Police must be ready to respond to genuine emergency requests. Nuisance and misdirected calls may deprive persons in distress of timely Police intervention as the Police emergency call operators would be bogged down by these calls. If Police resources were to be dispatched to false cases reported by irresponsible callers, this will take our officers away from real emergencies. Where necessary, the Police will in consultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers, prosecute recalcitrant nuisance callers in court.
5. The Police will continue their efforts to reduce nuisance and misdirected calls.