999 Hoax Call Hotspots of the UK

Police in England received an average of 266 prank calls per day in 2021 and 2022 

Hertfordshire takes the top spot for the place that received the highest number of prank calls (21,899) in 2020 – 2021

The most police-cautious area is North Wales, receiving the fewest number of prank calls

The biggest increase of hoax calls year-on-year was London, where calls increased by 200%

Emergency operators across the UK are being kept unnecessarily busy by a shocking number of prank police emergency calls, according to a new analysis.

Home security specialists, SimpliSafe undertook a series of Freedom of Information requests to uncover which UK constabularies receive the most prank calls in a year. England as a whole received a shockingly high number of prank calls – with 91,290 between 2020 and 2021 and 102,930 between 2021 and 2022 – that’s a 13% increase in calls in a year. 

The county of Hertfordshire was discovered to have the highest number of prank emergency calls, with a total of 49,740 made over two years between September 2020 and September 2022. This averages out to over 68 prank calls per day. If that picture wasn’t bad enough, there was a sharp increase of hoax calls to Hertfordshire police of 27% between 2021 and 2022 to 27,841. 

The biggest percentage increase year-on-year was London, where prank calls grew 200% in the consecutive year. However, there were some outliers, with North Yorkshire Police in particular experiencing a 52% reduction in prank calls year-on-year with numbers dropping from 4,968 to 2,389. 

With these alarming statistics, UK General Manager at SimpliSafe, Jonathan Wall advises Brits to take extra measures to help protect themselves whilst helping to reduce the number of prank and false alarms: “The amount of hoax calls the police received across the UK is very worrying, especially when the emergency services are stretched so thin. These calls are a waste of resources and misdirect help from the people who really need it. 

“There are plenty of precautions and measures that the average person can take to help protect themselves, whilst taking some pressure off the emergency services; such as cameras outside your home and a good alarm system. 

“Of course, if there is a genuine situation that requires the help of the emergency services, the right course of action is to dial 999. Ensuring that you’re fully protected and aware of what constitutes an emergency will help ensure you get the right help when you need it most. With a SimpliSafe security system backed with professional monitoring for example, the professional monitoring centre will use the Indoor Camera to visually verify an incident, then will request police dispatch to your home. The live video footage from the visual verification process shows there’s a genuine crime in progress, rather than a potential time-wasting, phoney incident or false alarm. In the event an incident cannot be verified, our professional monitoring centre can still dispatch one of their guards.” 

When these numbers are viewed next to the actual crime rates** from the same time scales, we can see a very similar trend. In the year ending September 2021, the crime rate around the UK was 5.8 million. However from September 2021 through to June the following year, the crime rate rose over 12% up to 6.5 million. This increase could partially explain some of the numbers as an increase in crime would directly correlate with an increase in calls, prank or not. 

UK constabularies that receive the most “prank calls” (Sept 2021/Sept 2022):

Hertfordshire Police – 21,899 / 27,841

Bedfordshire Police – 14417 / 19609

Leicestershire Police – 11,964 / 15,429

Lancashire Constabulary – 10,028 / 11,227 

Derbyshire Constabulary – 7352 / 7027 

North Yorkshire Police – 4968 / 2389

Greater Manchester Police – 4954 / 3942 

Police Service of Northern Ireland – 4383 / 5271

Essex Police – 2587 / 1803

Surrey Police – 1749 / 1368

Cleveland Police – 1337 / 1580

Merseyside Police – 1324 / 1471

Cambridgeshire Constabulary – 1071 / 820

Lincolnshire Police – 568 / 510

Gloucestershire Constabulary – 368 / 455

Avon and Somerset Constabulary – 301 / 215

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary – 295 / 378 

Kent Police – 286 / 344

Humberside Police – 250 / 58

Gwent Police – 248 / 244

Suffolk Constabulary – 246 / 238

Norfolk Constabulary – 171 / 138

Dorset Police – 163 / 153

Northamptonshire Police – 159 / 153

Cumbria Constabulary – 150 / 145

City of London Police – 32 / 96

North Wales Police – 20 / 26

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