Hoax / malicious calls

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We operate a call challenging policy which has dramatically reduced the number of malicious calls we attend.

During 2010/11, we received 2277 such calls, and our trained control room staff successfully challenged 298, meaning that no attendance was made.

The making of hoax calls is a criminal offence, and we do not hesitate to refer such matters to the police for further investigation in appropriate circumstances. In some cases, particularly with children and young people, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service operate a counseling service to teach them about the consequences of their behaviour.

We accept referrals from parents, teachers and other agencies, and anyone wishing to take advantage of our highly skilled intervention scheme should contact our Community Fire Safety team.

Fact: Dialling the prefix 141 does not block your identification

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Use it - don't abuse it!

Harry The Hoaxer seen making a hoax call from a phone box, the fire engine is sent out to the call whilst a real emergency of a building on fire is shown in the background

If you dial 999 and make a hoax call you may be committing more than one offence.

If caught you can get a £5,000 fine, six months in prison, or both!

Making a hoax call is not only illegal - it is also dangerous. Fire crews sent out in response to a hoax call cannot attend a real emergency. Following up these calls puts lives and property at extra risk.

Hoax calls may be seen as a 'prank' but the results can be very serious. Our technology provides us with your location, telephone number and we record your voice to use as evidence.

Dialling the prefix 141 does not block your identification

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Call Challenging

Call Challenging assists control room staff to verify a genuine call

All calls register with immediate caller identification and your voice is recorded

To reduce the problem the Fire Service has introduced a system entitled Call Challenging.

This procedure assists control room staff to verify a genuine call. All calls register with immediate caller identification and your voice is recorded.

Details will be passed onto the Police for further action and the recorded information can be used if a decision is made to prosecute you.

Call challenging embarrasses some hoaxers and they often hang the phone up when questioned, but we still attend half of the hoax calls.

Remember - the Fire Service knows the phone number you called from, and has a recording of your voice!

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Mobile Phones

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is working with mobile phone service providers to make sure hoaxers pay the price

Age of Crime Responsibility

Because more hoax calls are being made from pre-pay mobile phones, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is working with mobile phone service providers to make sure these hoaxers pay the price.

After a few precautionary checks mobile phones used to make hoax calls can now be deactivated, by the service provider call centre at the touch of a button.

If we receive a malicious call from your mobile phone we will text you stating that we are aware you have made a malicious call from your number and if it continues Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service will approach your server and get the phone signal barred.

You will lose any credit on the phone and will be liable for prosecution.

Remember we have your number!

Your hoax call could turn out to be the most expensive call you ever make

Further information

  • Fire Control - The Emergency service, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Harry the Hoaxer - Junior fire education, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service