Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Uganda's police have accused drunkards, loose women and people seeking to chat to dead relatives of abusing free emergency police hotlines

BBC News:

"Only 10% of emergency calls are genuine," police spokesman Simeon Nsubuga told the BBC News website.

He said women wanting to talk about their love lives and drunks wanting an escort should stop wasting police time.

Mr Nsubuga also dismissed claims that calling the 999 line at night would enable people to talk to the deceased.

"They tell them to call 999 15 times, call 999 20 times - but the problem is even if you call 999 10 times or 20 times or 100 times it will end up at the police," Mr Nsubuga said.

He said people were just calling the lines because they were free.

"Because it is toll free somebody does not expect to spend any airtime while calling so that's why they're abusing it.

"We have the drunkards calling us and loose women - they call us late in the night and instead of making a report they come up with love affairs, others call us and they just abuse us, others call and they don't report, you can just listen what's going on, so it's a very big problem."

"Only call the police when there is a need. Only when there's an emergency situation," he implored.

Asked if officers on duty found the calls embarrassing, he said that was why policemen were complaining.

"It interferes with their work," he said.

Earlier, at a press conference in the capital, Kampala, Mr Nsubuga was more forthright in his comments.

"We warn desperate women who call our officers at night using police patrol lines asking them to make love. They call the toll free line everyday saying they are feeling so cold in bed and need some assistance from police," Uganda's Monitor newspaper quotes him as saying.

"These women also go further to direct our officers at their places of residence so that they can reach them. They mainly start calling from midnight up to morning talking nonsense."

Mr Nsubuga said the dispatch room receives between 800 to 1,000 calls a night, the Monitor reports.

Lustful women jam emergency lines


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