Two staff who were working for private security contractor G4S have been relieved from their duties after an investigation revealed that they made false 999 calls while manning the police control room with the aim to boost their performance records.
Investigations show that the two staff members made hundreds of calls during lean periods so that they could show that they were performing well while handling these emergency calls.
The handlers used to work for Lincolnshire police and were subsequently transferred to G4S, which had been awarded a £200 million contract to manage and operate the back-office services. The private security contractor at that time had stated that this step would enable the police to save as much as £6 million annually.
The two staff members were part of a group of five who were suspended during an inquiry into 999 test calls that happened earlier in the year.
G4S announced that the two employees had resigned while the investigation was ongoing and hence did not participate in the disciplinary hearing that was held at the end of July. Another two were fired, while the fifth employee has been cleared of any wrongdoings and has rejoined work.
The investigations started in January 2016 after Lincolnshire police’s anti-corruption unit was informed internally of the handlers’ misdeeds. Lincolnshire police has emphasised that the public’s safety was not at risk during the time the handlers made false calls.
It is believed that police control room employees made hundreds of false 999 calls in October, November and December 2015. The staff were given a target of answering 92 per cent of calls in ten seconds or less, and if they failed to meet the target, the contractor would have been penalised. To attain their target, the control room handlers made false calls. Records show that the handlers made as many as 724 illegitimate calls during a span of three months.