Prank calls to the emergency call centre clog up the system, waste resources, and put those in need who are genuinely trying to get help, at risk.
We get about 10 000 prank calls a year, and those calls leave our staff feeling incredibly traumatised.— JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security
Smith says they do about 1000 awareness sessions a year at schools to discourage children from making prank calls.
It's the adults who call with sexual content, or obscenities, or just swear, or send you on hoax calls to emergencies that do not exist, that consume resources, .— JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security
he says it clogs up the call centre which drives up the call abandonment rate.
Smith says they have finally reached the end of their tether and have decided to go the prosecution route. They have not done so in the past because Smith says it is a resource intensive action. And it is more important to spend resources on investigating serious and violent crime.
But these prank calls are putting lives at risk, and they have decided to introduce this new direction.
He says while many calls are from public phones, some are from identifiable numbers and these will be followed up and investigated.
The Emergency Communication Centre Act will make it a criminal offence to call an emergency call centre for anything other than an emergency.
Smith says there are also additional provisional legislation that can be used for abusive and obscene calls.
Listen to the full interview below: