Police help to be sought over prank calls to '108'

Nearly fifty per cent of phone calls a day to ambulance service are by pranksters

Police help to be sought over prank calls to '108'

The authorities of the State-run Arogya Kavacha medical emergency response service are planning to seek assistance of the City police to keep a tab on prank calls.

The emergency call centre receives around 20,000 calls per day seeking medical, police or fire personnel assistance from various parts of Karnataka. However, almost 50 per cent of such calls are turning out to be prank.

According to Arogya Kavacha authorities, the number of prank calls is high in the months of April, May, June and October — holidays for schoolchildren and college students.

“We will approach the police to chalk out the ways of curbing the menace,” Jagadish Patil, Head of Operations, GVK EMRI told Deccan Herald.

Dramatic rise in calls

The call centre in Basaveshwarnagar has seen a dramatic rise in the number of prank calls. Comprising a total of 120 emergency response officers, the call centre is the only such facility in Karnataka.

“The prank callers dialing the free emergency response service are frequently children and teenagers falling in the age group of 10-18 years, mostly in the City limits,” he said. “We have not blocked the numbers as when we called them back, we were told that their children or someone in the neighbourhood may have played the prank. We are also requested not to block the number as they may call us in case of emergency.”

The emergency response officers maintain that prank calls were affecting their functioning.

“Two weeks ago, a prankster called the free emergency number – 108 - more than 500 times in a week from his cellphone. When I called the number back, the receiver claimed he had no idea about the calls being made,” said an officer.

When contacted, Kamal Pant, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) said the City police have been associated with Arogya Kavacha emergency service since the beginning.

“We are ready to help them in every possible manner once they tell us their requirements and the assistance they need,” he said.

Arogya Kavacha 108 emergency service was launched on November 1, 2008 by Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department in association with GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI).

Jagadish Patil, GVK EMRI: The prank callers dialing the free emergency response service are children and teenagers falling in the age group of 10-18 years, mostly in the City limits

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