6 out of 7 calls to the police control room turn out to be anything but emergency

The police department has classified such calls into five different categories — blank (the caller remaining silent and non-responsive to queries); prank (hoax calls, bomb threats etc); crank (abusing the respondent with foul language); enquiry (calls related to other government departments or helplines); and others.
The official says that the control room occasionally gets calls from senior citizens living alone
The official says that the control room occasionally gets calls from senior citizens living alone

The state police master control room (SPMCR) gets approximately 10,000 calls every day, but just about 1,500 calls are genuine grievance calls, while the rest turn out to be anything but for a reason.

In fact, there is a check when you dial a 100 — the emergency helpline to reach out to the police to report something — and the automated responder would ask if the call has been made to the police control room and if the caller still wants to continue with the call. And still, six out of seven calls are not genuine.

The police department has classified such calls into five different categories — blank (the caller remaining silent and non-responsive to queries); prank (hoax calls, bomb threats etc); crank (abusing the respondent with foul language); enquiry (calls related to other government departments or helplines); and others.

However, these calls are filtered by the staff of Amtex, an agency that is engaged by the police department to respond to emergency calls, before the genuine calls — which are referred to as calls for service (CFS) — are forwarded to the police desk. “The person who responds to the call first is the staff of the agency and after the basic details are recorded, the call is linked to the control room concerned to follow it up,” says Deputy Commissioner (in charge of the Model Control Room in Chennai).

From March 1 to 15, the SPMCR recorded 1.67 lakh calls, out of which only 27,700 calls were counted as calls for services. The calls for services are further classified into 46 broad categories such as bodily abuse and animal-related and 407 sub-divisions to respond to the calls in a suitable manner.

“The call for services is linked to the control room concerned, be it districts or Chennai, and then the nearby patrol is alerted to attend to the grievance. The overall response time to the grievance calls has come down to five minutes,” adds the official.

Though the control room receives hoax or crank calls, only those numbers from which repeated calls are made are blocked and the bomb threat calls despite them turning out to be fake are not taken lightly by cops. “The bomb detection and disposal squad is on duty in three shifts round the clock, who would rush to the spot and carry out the searches, while the caller’s details will be traced within minutes and the local police will be alerted to inquire about the person regarding the call,” says the Deputy Commissioner.

The official says that the control room occasionally gets calls from senior citizens living alone, requesting to get food and medicines delivered since they find it unsafe to approach others. “We cater to them too, and the patrol vehicles meet them and do the needful,” he says.

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