False and/or abandoned 911 emergency calls to the police are taking an increasing amount of valuable time from members of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.
Inspector Chris Bear, head of the detachment, said the number of false and/or abandoned 911 calls to the detachment have been steadily increasing since 2014, when 306 of these calls were received, to 1,002 in 2018.
In a breakdown of all calls received by the detachment in Bear’s quarterly report to the Municipality of North Cowichan for January through to the end of March, at 15 of such calls received, false and/or abandoned 911 calls topped the list of calls from Crofton in that period.
The calls were the fourth largest number of calls from Maple Bay in the first three months of the year, at 14.
There were 101 false and/or abandoned 911 calls, the largest number of all calls to the detachment, from other areas of North Cowichan in that time period.
The quarterly report for North Cowichan doesn’t include the City of Duncan’s statistics.
Overall, the detachment received 5,349 calls for service from Jan. 1 through to the end of March, compared to 4,865 calls in the same time period last year.
“When we receive these calls, a great many are from cell phones so we don’t know if there is an emergency or not,” Bear said.
“Many are pocket dials and nothing is heard on call backs. Many answer the phone and find out it’s the police and, for some reason, try to hang up or turn their phone off. Ideally, if people do accidentally call 911, they need to stay on the phone and talk with police dispatchers who then confirm if there is an actual emergency or not.”