Three men from South Gloucestershire have been issued with Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) prohibiting them from making unnecessary calls to the emergency services- after making over 200 nuisance calls to 999.
The three separate cases were all dealt with by Bristol Magistrates’ Court in the final weeks of September, Avon and Somerset police say.
On Thursday September 21, a 45-year-old man from Downend was fined £2,500 for breaching a Community Protection Notice (CPN). He had made at least 44 calls between March and June 2017 and apparently tried to convince ambulance services that he had an emergency medical condition.
The man was given an indefinite CBO, prohibiting him from calling 999 emergency service for reasons other than a genuine emergency; making false, malicious or time-wasting calls to the police 101 or NHS 111 non-emergency numbers, or encouraging or instructing others to do so; misleading those providing NHS services into believing he has a condition, illness or symptom in order to fraudulently gain access to services; and encouraging or instruct other people to call the ambulance service on his behalf.
A 37-year-old man, from Patchway, made at least 73 calls between February and May 2017. On Wednesday 27 September he was convicted of breaching a CPN and handed a 10-year CBO with the same conditions, prohibiting him from contacting the NHS or emergency services except in a genuine emergency.
On Thursday September 28, a 50-year-old man from Thornbury was fined £400 for breaching a CPN and issued with a four-year CBO. This prohibits him from calling 999 for reasons other than a genuine emergency; calling 101 or sending e-mails which are false, malicious or time-wasting in nature or encouraging or instructing others to do so; or being rude or abusive when contacting police officers or staff.
The court heard that he called the police 88 times in 2016 and was issued with a CPN, after which he sent 50 e-mails to police officers and staff in the first six months of 2017.
Police apply for these orders from the court after first issuing individuals with a Community Protection Warning. If this is ignored they are given a CPN. Breaching a CPN is a criminal offence. Only after a CPN is breached will a CBO be considered, upon conviction.
Officers worked with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to apply for two of the orders.
Claire Morgan, of the SWASFT, said: "The ambulance service has a dedicated team of staff to manage the frequent callers to its service. Many frequent callers have complex health and social care needs so a multi-agency, structured approach is used to assist and improve those patients’ access to health and social care.
"If inappropriate demand on the service continues, impacting on the ability of SWASFT to attend other patients in the community, the Frequent Caller Team pursues this matter with the police through the legal/criminal route and a number of successful convictions have been issued across the south west region."
Neighbourhood inspector Clive Summerill said: “We have taken this action because our communities rightly expect their emergency services to be available when they’re needed, not tied up with people making false or time-wasting calls.”