My New Plan For Hoax Calls

NeeNaw has already written about hoax calls, yesterday I had one that we knew was going to be a hoax but would have to be investigated anyway.

The call came down to our computer terminal as 'Child on phone claiming to be 52 year old male with difficulty in breathing, no answer on ringback, probably hoax, please investigate'.

While this seems pretty cut and dried it's probably for the best that we are sent to investigate, it only takes one misunderstanding and someone to die and the whole service would be dragged over the coals. I can just picture the headline 'Ambulance thought my dying husband was a hoax caller!'.

So we went to the callbox and sure enough there was a gang on perhaps eight young teenagers standing opposite the phonebox. One of them did that annoying thing where run into the middle of the road, stamp their feet then wave at you and shout that they have broken their leg.

We pulled up next to him, “Call an ambulance did you?”

The teenager faked ignorance.

“It's against the law to dial 999 for no reason”, I continued.

He just laughed.

So in an uncharacteristic fit of quick-thinking I pulled out my mobile phone and took a picture of him.

He looked shocked and ran off to his friends and muttered something quickly to them.

My crewmate completed the illusion by pretending to talk to Control on our radio.

The gang of kids disappeared.

The good thing is that (a) It's not against the law to take a picture of someone in the street (he has no expectation of privacy), (b) If he's done nothing wrong he's got nothing to worry about and (c) if it was him hoaxing us, then it might give him a sleepless night worrying what we'll do with the 'evidence'. Of course there is nothing that we can do because we can't prove that he was the one to make the hoax call, so the hope of a little worry on his part is the best we can hope for.

I'm sure some Social Worker* would be upset at my actions, but when we are overloaded with calls such idiocy could cost someone their life.

*Talking of Social Workers, a friend of mine went on a call last night where a Social Worker got involved – said Social Worker got out of his car, urinated in the gutter and then bullied an elderly but otherwise healthy patient into going to hospital. Words fail me.

23 thoughts on “My New Plan For Hoax Calls”

  1. Hi…over the past few weeks I've been reading about three years worth of your blog and it's been fascinating. I work in the NHS but have never worked with the ambulance service…so this has been a real eye opener. That aside, I think I'd still find it as fascinating – humans have this amazing capacity to be brilliant and awful people and the situations you see them in tend to bring out one or other trait. It's a brilliant insight. Never stop blogging. Meg.

  2. Not that I've lived in my own country for the last three years, but correct me if I am wrong, Tom….Isn't urinating in a public place against the law? I could think of at least two laws which apply there.

    People like that give the rest of Social Workers a very bad name and I am sure that there are plenty of decent examples who'd be horrified at what you saw and what happened afterwards…..

  3. Splendid. A drug rep who used to be an EMT (mmm, what's the message there I wonder?) told me a lovely story. He was called to “unconcious” girl in street, took her and two friends to hospital. On arrival all 3 jumped out of big white taxi saying “thanks For the lift”. Next week, same shift, similar call. He recognised one of another 3 girls so he took them on board, did all he was supposed to do and then drove them to hospital. When they jumped out they said ” Where the F are we? ” He had taken them to another hospital about 15 miles away. Not sure if this is true but a good story all the same and might concentrate the brain cell if it is plugged in.

  4. Nice one! Hopefully he is still pooing his pants! Silly little sod!Don't you just love teenagers, dreading my two gorgeous little girls becoming them! GULP!

  5. Digital cameras would be useful. Traffic wardens use them to gather evidence and bus drivers use them to gather information about accidents. As a lifetime photographer and writer you are correct it illegal to take anyone's photo in a public place, provided the photo does not show them in an embarrassing light or could be used for devious purposes. I have a policy of not photographing anyone who appears to be under 18; its safer that way.

  6. While I'm right behind you with making the little scrotes suffer I must take you to task on one thing.Round here use of the stock phrase “If he's done nothing wrong he's got nothing to worry about” will get you damned to the same hell as every former home secretary and ACPO rank officer who's used it to justify the latest insane and/or evil proposal to minimise the rights of Britain's citizens. Sorry, but it's just one of those phrases.

    Back on our little friends – how about hosing them down with the ambulance bilges. Nothing like eau de tramp's trousers sprayed all over you to put a dampener on the evenings festivities. šŸ™‚

  7. I like it, thats one thing about working in an operations room rather than 'on the ground', no chance to do these immensely fun things to the public… Hoax calls to our operations rooms (I work for the Coastguard) cost a lot of time and money and I know its been said many times by many many people but I'd like to string the little b******s up by the neck.Loving your blog by the way, I've now read all the archives and am going to order da book right this minute!

  8. I'd go with this – has a flash which will go off at them, and reduces their chance of nicking your personal mobile phone.

  9. Nice social worker. Probably the same idiot that thought it a good idea to take one of our alcoholic clients down the pub for their session together because England were playing in the world cup!

  10. At work, we rank social workers on the scale of life forms somewhere between Librarians and Amoeba's, amoeba's being the highest of the three. They are more interested in who's got the newest mobile pone than what is happening with their clients. Nothing they do will surprise me any more after working for 5 years in the Public Sector!!

  11. Apparantly it is legal for a male to urinate in public, as long it is on the rear wheel of his motor vehicle and his right hand is on the vehicle.In which case his actions in the gutter were illegal and he should be arrested.

  12. You are right. The only difference is that I'm not taking his rights away from him, just relying on his fear of getting caught.But I will be more careful in the future.

  13. Are you never tempted to just accelerate, run the little sh*ts over and really give them something to call an ambulance for?Also is it not a tad worrying that this country recruits bullies who pee in the street as social workers? In mental health terms is it not a bit like the blind leading the blind?

  14. I dont't know if you'll bother reading this far back… but yeah I know Maggie, not on my watch though, I'll have to mention I was talking to you when I next see her, were you on her TAN course or something? Email me if you wanna!

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