The trial run for the ambitious helpline 112, that will be India’s equivalent to 911 of the US’ all-in-one emergency services, has been halted owing to the numerous blank calls that were being received on the number. The number of blank calls being received on ‘112’, which was on trial run, along with ‘100’ were coming up to 72,000 everyday.
Before the trial run began, the PCR unit used to receive around 27,000 calls daily with around 40 per cent of them being blank calls on 100. After the trial run that began in October, the PCR unit was grappling with almost seven times the number of blank calls that it received earlier.
“The blank calls were coming to 72,000. On one of the days, we had received 99,000 calls in aggregate on both the helplines. This was putting a pressure on our staff and we decided to halt the trial run till a solution is found,” a senior police officer said.
In order to find a solution to the problem of blank calls, Delhi Police has even prepared a list of callers who “harass” the control room personnel with repeated calls and has shared it with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and DCPs of the districts concerned.
The PCR unit has identified a few callers who have dialled ‘100’ or ‘112’ around 70 times or more, traced their addresses and shared the details with the concerned DCPs.
Soon, ‘112’ will be the official helpline number and ‘100’ will be phased out slowly. Through their communication with DoT, Delhi Police is hoping that the problem of blank calls will be addressed before the helpline is rolled out officially.
“On the phone’s keypad, ‘1’ and ‘2’ are next to each other. Many a times, people dial ‘112’ by mistake due to this. In the last one month, we have heard this from many callers,” the officer had said.
Blank calls delay the response time of the PCR to genuine calls and cause congestion in the phone lines, according to officers.
“We have to receive each and every call. But in this confusion, sometimes, we are not able to respond in time to callers who urgently require our assistance urgently or send the PCR vehicle immediately,” the officer added.