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Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Emergency services brace for New Year’s Eve prank calls

The number of calls to Sweden’s 112 emergency number tends to double on new year’s, but nearly half of those who call are drunk and not in danger.

In recent years, SOS Alarm, which mans the 112 call centres, has received around 11,500 calls between New Year’s Eve and the morning of New Year’s Day, Swedish Television News reports.

“The hours around midnight on New Year’s Eve are the busiest of the year. Around half the calls are for non-emergencies. People call for other reasons,” Anders Klarström, an SOS Alarm spokesman, told Swedish Television News.

The 112 number is reserved for emergency situations, but on new year’s calls can sound like this:

“Hi! I’ve been out on the town and can’t find a taxi. Do you have an ambulance in the area that could take me home?” 

Or:

“I need to buy cigarettes. If you have a car out, can I get a ride to nearest store?”

Such drunken calls can have serious consequences for the caller and for members of the public, Klarström explained.

“If you call 112 for non-emergency purposes, that means people who are truly in trouble must wait unnecessarily before getting help.”

Klarström added: “You can be prosecuted and fined or even imprisoned. It happens once or twice every year, that someone is prosecuted over abusing the 112 emergency number.” 

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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