GUWAHATI, Feb 12 - Finding itself weighed down by habitual prank callers, Assam Police is now trying to fight its way out of the menace!
And to get rid of the nuisance, its emergency service �Dial 100� has already �blocked� over 400 telephone numbers of such prank callers in the last one year or so.
The step, Assam Police sources said, was necessary to improve the average response time, which has been affected by such �non-emergency� calls. The average response time of Dial 100 has increased to 10.16 minutes in 2016 from 9.44 minutes in 2015.
�These blocked numbers belong to habitual pranksters, who despite being politely explained the importance of such emergency numbers continue to cause the pain in the neck,� an Assam Police official told The Assam Tribune.
The official opined that the Dial 100 system had to take a serious toll due to such calls, which directly affects delivery of emergency service to those in distress.
�Those in instant need of emergency service cannot break through as the lines are clogged by such prank callers. This has turned out to be a real headache,� sources said, adding, �We still do not know if such callers can be prosecuted for disrupting emergency service. However, if things get worse, we would not hesitate to even explore that possibility as well. Some countries have done that.�
�The 400-odd numbers were blocked between October, 2015 and December, 2016. And once any number is blocked, Dial 100 could never be accessed by that number again,� he pointed out.
Dial 100 set up at Guwahati last year received 10, 11,104 calls compared to 7, 37,158 calls in the preceding year. In the year 2014, it had received 5, 94,690 calls. However, most of these calls are �ineffective and non-emergency� and are dialed out of ignorance, mostly by children.
Sources in the Health Department too informed that even Dial 108 service (ambulance) is facing serious load of non-emergency calls.
�You can hardly do anything if the call is done out of ignorance or mistake. However, the problem begins when it is done deliberately time and again,� a Health Department official opined.