Over 26,000 calls have been made to ACT Policing’s Triple Zero line this year, but an alarming 48% of those were nuisance or hoax calls.
Despite widespread media campaigns and ACT Policing’s ‘Triple Hell No’ social media posts, the line is still receiving calls for some very minor disruptions.
For non-life-threatening matters, an ACT Policing spokesperson urged the public to call 131 444 for police assistance and not the emergency line.
“There are several reasons, from prank and accidental calls (children), people misunderstanding that Triple Zero is for emergency and life-threatening situations only, or an individual’s own interpretation of what they consider to be an emergency,” they said.
“Police believe only a minority of inappropriate calls to Triple Zero to be deliberately vexatious or nuisance calls.”
The ACT Policing spokesperson listed some examples of non-emergency calls to Triple Zero:
- when the Chinese takeaway delivers your meal to your house 20 minutes late, the temperature of the food is lower than ideal, and your guests are not happy.
- when the female sex worker you have engaged does not match the picture in the advertisement.
- to make a complaint to the ombudsman’s office.
ACT Policing said using the resources of the emergency line when it’s not needed could prevent them responding to a critical emergency where every second counts.
The ACT Policing spokesperson said making these calls was considered a criminal offence and could result in severe penalties.
Earlier this year, a 36-year-old O’Connor man faced the ACT Magistrates Court after making over 11 nuisance calls to the Triple Zero line and continuing to do so following a caution.
ACT Policing are again urging people to think before they dial.
“People should only call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or life-threatening situation,” said the spokesperson.
“For all other matters, there are other contacts available. If someone requires police assistance, but there is no immediate danger, they should call the police assistance line on 131 444; if someone has information about a crime, they should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”