Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hoax callers face the prospect of a prison sentence, why isn’t prison the norm for such people who endanger the lives of others?

Dear All

With bad weather and more predicted to be on the way, the emergency services, Police, Fire and Ambulance have enough on their plates to deal with.

The 999 service is there to help all of us and save lives.

But in society you get idiots who make hoax calls to the emergency services because they want a laugh.

And the price of a laugh could be denying people help and causing the death of someone because help arrives too late.

So what should happen to fake 999 callers; I would say everyone would favour making an example of these people.

Prison terms are required, resources are short and not just money, time and people are also in short supply as cutbacks means more work done by less people.

Solicitor General Frank Mulholland QC says that updated guidance is to be issued to legal teams across Scotland this week which strongly favours prosecuting false 999 callers.

I am surprised that this isn’t the norm.

Mulholland said:

"Even at the best of times, hoax callers distract vital attention away from emergency services trying to help those in life-threatening situations. Make no mistake - it is a criminal offence to make hoax calls to the emergency services, and where there is sufficient evidence, there is a strong presumption in favour of prosecuting. If convicted, the courts have the powers to impose a sentence of imprisonment."

He added:

"When people's lives depend on these precious resources, hoax calls are no laughing matter."

I was on a bus in July 2009 when a woman had a heart attack, the bus pulled over and panic broke out as I was sitting up the back.

Half the bus done a runner when it stopped the other half just sat there and the driver put his hands in his pockets!

When I saw what was going on I dived up, moved the woman with the help of the driver, checked her pulse and immediately started CPR.

I was on my knees for about 10 minutes doing 15 to 2 till the Ambulance crew showed up.

And I was glad that they did.

In such cases people need help immediately and being diverted to a non existent call is quite a despicable act.

Hoax calls are not victimless pranks; they are acts of real evil that need to be punished to the full force of the law.

Falsely calling the fire service could result in three months in jail, the good news is the trend is coming down but even one call is too high.

This Xmas remember that the emergency services don’t get Xmas off, they work 24/7, 365 days a year for you, your family, friends and neighbours, they deserve your full support all the time.

The 10 minutes or so I spent on my knees doing CPR seem to go by very quickly but I was concerned, how long I could keep going, but I was grateful when professional help came.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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