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28 August 2013, 11:38
London Fire Brigade says the number of hoax calls it receives has almost halved in the last 7 years.
In the last year it had just over 7000, compared to more than 13000 in 2006.
Officials think it’s because fewer people use phone boxes, and mobile phones are easier and quicker to trace.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Chandler, who is responsible for mobilising, says:
"Hoax calls were easier when kids could just pop into a phone box, but now everyone has mobile phones and the numbers are traceable. It's a little less tempting when you know that the people you're hoaxing have your number.
"Repeat offenders can have their phones cut off entirely, and our control officers are specially trained to challenge suspicious callers to check that they're genuine.
"It's great that we've seen such an amazing drop over the last few years, but as the summer holidays draw to a close, it's important that parents continue to teach their children that hoax calls are pointless and dangerous, and that we take them very seriously.
"Hoax calls are fake calls made to 999, where there is no real emergency. These calls divert control officers from answering genuine 999 calls and can take up crews' valuable time, which may prevent them from getting to someone quickly in a real emergency. The Brigade takes all its calls very seriously."
The Brigade has released a selection of some of the hoax calls it's received in August: