ABU DHABI // More than 50 per cent of all 999 calls in Abu Dhabi over the past three months - nearly 250,000 - were pranks, a large number of which were made by children, police said yesterday.
This shocking statistic has prompted police to ask parents to explain to their children the importance of 999.
There were 481,640 calls made to 999 in the past quarter of the year, and 242,146 of them were "ridiculous inquiries and playful acts by children", said staff Col Ali al Dhaheri, the head of police operations department.
The number of calls received at the operations room increased during the mid-year holidays showing that many of them were made by "naughty children", he added.
"Police operations are ready to respond to any emergencies. But the prank calls could form an obstacle to prompt response to real emergencies."
He attributed the problem to lack of parental guidance and observation, and recommended that parents enrol their children in extracurricular activities so they can fill their "empty time".
Police also warned that prank calls are evaluated on the size of disturbance and interruption caused. In case of repetition concerned police parties are informed and legal procedures are taken against owners of the numbers.