A Worthing woman has been convicted for making almost 100 ‘nusiance calls’ to the police during a six month period, police have confirmed.
Netta Hall, 45, of Ashacre Lane, Salvington, phoned Sussex Police through both 101 and 999, more than 95 times between 1 January and 15 June 2016 mainly by phone.
Police said call handlers spent a total of seven hours dealing with her calls.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Hall contacted the police on such matters as mortgage repayments on her house, historical non-police incidents from the 1980’s, statements about how she feels living in the town she lives in, asking if 999 operators could order her a take-away, her car being taken by police for driving offences, and experiences in retail shops with staff.”
Hall was convicted in her absence, having failed to answer a summons, at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on March 27, of persistently making use of a public electronic communications network for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, against the Communications Act 2003, police said.
Police said she was given a 12-month Community Order, is required carry out a 10 days behavioural rehabilitation course, was given a six-week overnight curfew, and was also ordered to pay a total of £235 court costs and victim surcharge.
Call-taker Sarah-Louise Gliddon said: “Netta Hall was a prolific caller to Sussex Police over the last two years and despite being warned by the local policing team and being issued with a fixed penalty notice she continued to phone and email the contact centre on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis with matters which were not requiring a police response which affected our ability to take other calls and reports from the members of the public requiring police assistance.
“We have developed an effective process to deal with persistent callers by working with local police officers and Mental Health teams, contacting persistent callers and issuing them with warnings about the way their unnecessary contact affects our ability to help other members of the public trying to report incidents on both the 101 and 999 lines. If they ignore these warnings then we will gather the evidence to take them to court to be prosecuted as we have successfully done with Hall.
“Time spent dealing with unnecessary calls means it can take us longer to get to those people who need our help the most, longer waiting times for the public calling 101 and a delay in answering genuine emergency 999 calls so we will continue to issue these warnings and prosecute if the warnings are ignored.”
On average, Sussex Police receives up to 2,000 calls a day, along with 1,500 emails a week and 1,500 online crime reports every month.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The force has been monitoring repeat nuisance callers since March 2014 to reduce the amount of time wasted that could be spent on dealing with genuine issues and reports from the public.
“In February this year alone the force received 1,735 calls from around 145 persistent callers currently being monitored by the force. Actions taken against these callers this year so far has involved two arrests, a Fixed Penalty Notice, several email accounts being blocked and a number of warnings which are served by the local policing teams with whom force Contact Centre staff work closely with in dealing with these callers.
“In 2016, six persistent callers were prosecuted.”
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