Reports are emerging that police call handlers employed by private security contractor G4S made hundreds of bogus 999 calls with the aim to improve their performance figures. Even the control room manager was involved in the fraud, according to the investigation.
Five G4S staff working in Lincolnshire Police’s control room were initially suspended when it came out that they had dialled 999 themselves during slow times at work so that they could improve their performance. Between the call handlers and force control room manager, a total of 724 test 999 calls were made from October to December 2015. On the other hand, from January to September 2015, about 30 to 40 test calls were made on average.
If the figures emerging are right, in October, the staff made 139 calls. This figure jumped to 236 in November; then there was another increase in December, when the 999 calls spiked to 349.
A leading UK newspaper claims that the Lincolnshire Police control room received a total of 8,153 calls in December 2015. However, just 89 per cent of genuine calls were answered within ten seconds, which was the target time.
This fraud came to light when a whistleblower working in the force reported the matter to Lincolnshire Police after a previous investigation did not find anything suspicious or wrong. The previous complaint was made by the Police Federation.
The staff found falsifying the 999 calls are former employees of Lincolnshire Police who were transferred to G4S in 2012 after the police force and the private security contractor entered into a contract for delivering back office functions.
G4S Public Services Managing Director John Shaw stated that the company wanted to reassure the public that the fraudulent 999 calls did not put the police or public at risk. He also stated that he was saddened by the actions of the staff who took this route to improve their performance figures.