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Calls to crack down on 999 hoax callers as only one in 100 are prosecuted

IT has been revealed that less than one in 100 bogus 999 callers are being prosecuted each year.

In 2009-10 there were 2,931 hoax calls made to Scottish fire brigades, as well as 336 fake emergency calls made to the police, including 57 bomb hoaxes.

However, only 26 people were prosecuted for the offence in 2008-09 – down from 37 the previous year.

Natalie Milne, Tory public health spokeswoman, is calling for a crackdown on hoax callers who are wasting the emergency services’ time.

She said: “Our emergency workers are unsung heroes.

“Any attempt to waste their time and resources must not be tolerated.

“It is a disgrace that there have not been more prosecutions – what sort of message does that send out?

“There is also the issue of considerable cost to the NHS.

“I will look to see what can be done to make sure those who want to make hoax calls are held to account.”

John Duffy, Scottish secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “Hoax emergency calls tie up resources and you could be answering a hoax call when a genuine one comes in.

“But these calls are often made by children and prosecution may not necessarily be the best method of dealing with this.”

Les Gray, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “It’s incredible we still have idiots making hoax calls, particularly given how stretched emergency services are.

“The courts should take a very dim view of this.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Should the police, prosecutors and courts wish to prosecute these people, they will have our full support.”

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