Sergent Wayne Tincknell waits for the next call in the communications room.
Sergent Wayne Tincknell waits for the next call in the communications room. JOCELYN WATTS

Misuse of 000 painful

POLICE are fed up with people calling Triple-0 to make noise complaints, because they’ve got no phone credit or they just want to “chat”.

Three out of four Triple-0 calls received at Maryborough’s police communications centre are for non-life threatening situations, Sergeant Wayne Tincknell says.

That’s a whopping 75 per cent.

Sgt Tincknell, officer in charge of the communications centre – which covers the entire local policing district – says officers are sick of people tying up the emergency line simply because it’s the only number they know by heart.

“We’ve had 11 Triple-0 calls today,” Sgt Tincknell said.

“Of those, two were legitimate.”

He says people misuse Triple-0 by calling it to make noise and minor traffic complaints.

Others want to speak to police for general inquiries, but simply don’t know the local number or don’t have money on their phones.

One man called Triple-0 just the other day to ask if a red light camera would still operate when the lights weren’t working.

It’s enough to drive police mad.

“It’s very frustrating,” Sgt Tincknell said.

“We go so far and then just terminate the call.

“At the end of the day, they are tying up an emergency line and if they are just speaking dribble, someone else trying to get through might be in a life or death situation.”

Even break-ins are a no-go.

“People call and say they’ve been broken into.

“It’s traumatic for them, but it’s really not an emergency. We tell them to ring back on the general police number.”

Sgt Tincknell is urging people to only call Triple-0 for serious traffic crashes, violent disturbances, severe injuries and fires.

“The other thing is to get people to call the right emergency service for the situation,” he said.

“People call us and say that someone is cutting themselves, but then they haven’t even bothered to call an ambulance.”

Sgt Tincknell warns that the personal details of all Triple-0 callers will appear on the police computer system and those who continually misuse the service can be charged.

In the communications centre at Maryborough, police take between 200 and 300 calls daily.

Sgt Tincknell’s crews are there 24-7 to direct incoming calls to the correct police station and officer within the local district.

The district includes Maryborough and Hervey Bay, Mundubbera, Biggenden, Howard, Tiaro and Fraser Island.

Police at any of those stations can be reached by calling 4123 8111 – a number people are encouraged to store in their phones.

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