ABOUT 95 per cent of “hoax calls” made to Essex Police each year are from people with special needs claims the county’s crime commissioner.
Police and crime commissioner Nick Alston said fewer than 100 callers of about 1,700 a year are actually people playing a practical joke.
He said the force must continue working closely with social care agencies to better inform people with care needs how and when to make a 999 call.
“Of about 1,700 calls the judgement of the officers is fewer than 100 are actually what we would call a hoax call,” said Mr Alston.
“And of those hoax callers I think it’s a younger person phoning up and having a laugh.
“Youngsters will be given words of advice. We don’t want to criminalise those who are doing something a bit silly.
“But it’s usually, quite sadly, people with particular and special care needs and vulnerable people, people who might be asking for help using, quite simply, a domestic appliance.”
Mr Alston said the force send PCSOs to investigate the most frequent callers with special or care needs.
“More important to me is that we encourage those who make hoax calls not to because it’s putting lives at risk but I am really pleased there is relatively few,” he added.