Law enforcement agencies including police and other departments are adopting various means of the latest technology for establishing better communication with the public, solely for serving them abruptly.
However, unfortunately, a big percentage of these calls are made for the sake of fun only. The prank calls received on these helplines have become a cause of the irritation for the authorities.
According to the latest statistics, 90 percent of the calls received on the Police emergency helpline ’15’ are the prank. People either report fake incidents or hang up the phones when a call is answered.
In most the cases, callers crack jokes and make fun of police authorities and many a time; callers start abusing police officials.
“The helpline is for the public to access us in the case of emergency but people call it to order the pizza, burgers, etc. Sometimes, they call the helpline and say, “will you make friendship with me?.” told us a senior police officer.
“Every day Lahore police receive 4,000 calls on 15 out of which 90% are pranked calls,” the official revealed
If a man has nothing to do and feels boredom, he just picks up his phone and calls the police helpline, and says various things. According to a report, last year, 3.5 million calls received on the helpline of Karachi Police were the prank.
Even the messaging helplines are not safe from the pranksters. The departments that have launched an SMS or WhatsApp helpline, also face this kind of silly activities by the dumb people who don’t have anything else to do.
To give you an outlook, here are some screenshots that were posted by the Banana News Network on their Facebook page. The screenshots show some messages received on the Rangers Madadgar WhatsApp emergency service.
Of course, these screenshots are fake, and that is what we expect from the BNN. But, we are showing these images so that you can get a perspective on how the fake messages look like. The screenshots are not real, but the words shown in the images are very similar to the real prank messages.
Why don’t Police block these callers?
It is much easier today to trace a caller or block the number of annoying people, and for police or any other security agency it is a piece of cake; however, they consider it the last option to take such an extreme measure.
“We don’t find it a better option to block numbers, either mobile or landline. The reason for our leniency is that once a number entered into our blocked list, it can not reach us in case a real emergency arises. We, therefore, do not wish them to face such a situation.”, explained the official.
Despite the fact, police have registered FIRs against the most frequently annoying callers.
The official appealed the public to stay away from such negative practices and become a responsible citizen and help police in the drive against crime.
Prank calls on other helplines
The prank calls are not only received on the police emergency helpline, but also on the other helplines such as fire brigade, railway station, food home-delivery services, etc.
For example, people call the helpline of McDonalds and order a meal, and when the guy comes with the food, the caller denies that he booked the meal.
Sometimes, people purposely give the wrong residential address on phone calls at McDonalds and Pizza Hut, just to tease the staff.
A manager of the local restaurant told that we are very used to it, and we don’t cater to that number if we get a call from it next time.
The customer care officers at different telecom companies also deal with prank calls on a daily basis. People call the telecom helplines and ask the operator for friendship.
On railway helpline, most of the prank calls are received about toilets of the train. For example, a person calls the Railway inquiry helpline and says, “Why there is no water in the washroom of Awami Express?.”
Unfortunately, there are no legal consequences for people who do prank calls and telephonic jokes. The only criminal law that is applicable on a phone call is if the caller is harassing the person.
Some people record their prank calls to post them on different social networking websites, but call recording is also not legal. According to the law, the permission of the other party on the phone call is essential to record the call.
The prank calls on helplines are not the problem of Pakistan only. Such calls are received by the helplines in the other countries as well.
Recently, a person in the USA called Burger King (an American global chain of restaurants) and said: “there is a gas leakage in the restaurant.”
After the call, the staff at the Burger King restaurant was seen smashing all the windows to get out of the building. The call was a prank and the police are still searching the man behind this call.