Police Say Unintentional Calls from Mobile Devices a Growing Problem in
TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Police services across Ontario are seeing
an increase in pocket dialed and unintentional 9-1-1 calls, which
represent a serious threat to public safety and negatively impact
police resources according to the Ontario 9-1-1 Advisory Board (OAB)
and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).
"With more and more people using mobile devices, our police services are
reporting an increase in unintentional 9-1-1 calls and so-called pocket
dials," said Inspector Paulo Da Silva of York Regional Police. "When
unintentionally dialed calls are made to 9-1-1 call centres, they
become a public safety issue and are a drain on law enforcement
Pocket dials happen when a keypad on a mobile device carried in a
pocket, purse, backpack, etc. is accidentally pressed. Unintentional
9-1-1 calls are generated from a mobile device and are not intended as
Unintentional 9-1-1 calls tie up phone lines that deliver 9-1-1 calls to
Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), which handle 9-1-1 calls. This
negatively impacts a PSAP's ability to respond to real emergencies.
The Ontario 9-1-1 Advisory Board brings together police personnel to act
as advocates for the 9-1-1 system in the Province of Ontario. OAB is
partnering with the OACP to raise public awareness of the
unintentional/pocket dialed calls.
The OAB and OACP have found that hundreds of unintentional/pocket dialed
9-1-1 calls are being received daily by police services across Ontario
from cell phones and other devices where no emergency exists. For
The Toronto Police Service received 1,227,791 calls to 9-1-1 in 2011. 1
in 5 calls were not valid emergencies. Pocket dials accounted for
107,748, or half of the false calls; misdialed calls to 9-1-1 (116,770)
accounted for the remainder.
York Regional Police received 97,886 unintentional 9-1-1 calls from
wireless devices in 2011, accounting for 37.33% of all 9-1-1 calls
London Police Service received 6,622 pocket dials from August to
November, 2011, averaging 11.24% of total 9-1-1 calls.
Peel Regional Police received 80,724 unintentional 9-1-1 calls from
wireless devices between June 1st, 2011 and December 31st, 2011, accounting for 33% of the 9-1-1 calls received.
For every unintentional/pocket 9-1-1 call received, a 9-1-1 emergency
telecommunicator must determine whether an emergency exists. Every
second counts when someone is waiting for an emergency communicator to
pick up a 9-1-1 call and dispatch police, emergency medical services,
"Citizens have the power to stop unintentional 9-1-1 calls from their
mobile devices. It could be as simple as locking a key pad or putting
the device in stand-by mode," said Chief Matt Torigian, President of
the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. "Such actions do not
impact a user's ability to receive a phone call, but may significantly
reduce the chance of a pocket dial. To further reduce the pocket dial
risk, users should not program 9-1-1 into their devices and should
prevent small children from playing with such devices."
Someone who places an unintentional 9-1-1 call should stay on the line.
Every 9-1-1 call is taken seriously. When a 9−1−1 caller doesn't
respond, that could be a sign of trouble - a possibility an emergency
responder can't ignore. Users are urged to let the emergency operator
know it was a pocket dial/unintentional call. This will eliminate the
need for the emergency operator to call back to determine if there is a
legitimate emergency, saving precious seconds and allowing them to move
on to the next emergency call.
Citizens can prevent pocket dials or unintentional 9-1-1 calls by:
Locking keypads using the keypad lock feature. Keypad locks, some of
which can be programmed to activate automatically, prevent a mobile
device from responding to keystrokes until the user unlocks the keypad
using a short combination of key presses.
Turn off the 9-1-1 auto-dial feature, if your mobile device has one. To
determine whether a device has this feature and how to turn it off,
check the user manual or the manufacturer's website, or call the
Refrain from programming a wireless device to speed or automatically
SOURCE Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
For further information:
Inspector Paulo Da Silva
York Regional Police
905.830.0303 ext 7903
Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
416-926-0424 ext. 22