Non-Emergency Calls Clogging 119 System

Story Highlights

  • Non-emergency calls to the police 119 number are clogging up the system and may prevent a quick response to genuine emergencies.
  • Superintendent Francis said the centre is capable of responding to all emergency calls; however, due to the flood of prank or unnecessary calls, some people may have difficulty getting through to the line.
  • He informed that when calling 119, persons should have vital information ready such as the address and description of people involved in the incident.

Non-emergency calls to the police 119 number are clogging up the system and may prevent a quick response to genuine emergencies.

Head of the Police Emergency Communication Centre, Superintendent Gairy Francis, told JIS News that the centre receives 33,000 calls per day, which is about 24 calls per minute.

Of that number, about 23,000 or 70 per cent are for non-emergencies or non-police related matters.

Superintendent Francis said the centre is capable of responding to all emergency calls; however, due to the flood of prank or unnecessary calls, some people may have difficulty getting through to the line.

This irresponsible action, he noted, can seriously hamper any assistance the police can render to genuine callers.

As such, he is imploring the public to only use the 119 line when it is absolutely necessary.

“Do not play around with the line. By doing so, you may indirectly cause someone else to die because we did not reach them in time,” he pointed out.

Superintendent Francis said that persons should only call 119 when there is an act that endangers life or property. “This may be an act of man or otherwise, or a flood or fire,” he explained.

He informed that when calling 119, persons should have vital information ready such as the address and description of people involved in the incident.

“They should be prepared to tell the nature of their emergency in a short period of time for effective and efficient response,” Superintendent Francis advised.

He is also encouraging persons to build a relationship with their local police units and stations.

“Be aware of the telephone numbers so they can direct some of these calls to these areas,” he urged.

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