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[WATCH] Hoax calls to emergency line down by half... from 7,000

Police received 3,500 prank calls on emergency line 112 last year, compared to 7,000 in 2014

Tim Diacono
11 February 2016, 11:53am
Photo:Ray Attard
Photo:Ray Attard
Hoax calls to emergency line down by half... from 7,000 • Video by Ray Attard
Police received around 3,500 hoax calls on the national emergency line in 2015, a significant drop from the 7,000 such calls received the previous year.

"While I am pleased that prank calls have dropped by half in the space of a year, the number is still too high," home affairs minister Carmelo Abela told the press at the Zejtun secondary school during an event to promote the 112 helpline

"Hoax calling is a crime, as it delays police from answering legitimate ones."

Police received a total of 453,306 emergency calls last year. As was the case last year, they received most calls (46,431) in July and the least in February (33,000).

Abela added that police last received around 19,000 misdialled calls, mostly from people who had intended to dial the phone directory line. The average ringing time last year was only seven seconds.

In a statement, Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi said she has been advocating and supporting different initiatives to raise awareness and improve the common European emergency number throughout Europe which Europeans can call in cases of emergency.

"112 can save lives by allowing every person in a distressed situation to reach any of the main emergency services through a single call number throughout the whole of the EU. This instrument is fundamental to the protection and well-being of our citizens and their property. It is technologically easy and financially cheap to implement.," Mizzi said.

"Regretfully, despite the good work that has been done throughout this initiative, 65% of European citizens do not know which number they could call to contact emergency services anywhere in the EU. In addition, annually, there still are millions of calls for help which are not being actioned in a timely manner."

Tim Diacono is a journalist at MaltaToday