About half the calls made to the 000 emergency number turn out to be inappropriate, so it’s not surprising that plans have been introduced to block the mobiles of people who repeatedly misuse the service.
The plans, announced yesterday by communications regulator ACMA, would see repeat abusers of the number (either through ringing in non-emergency situations or through chronically being unable to lock their handset) having their mobile access blocked altogether. That doesn’t mean your phone will stop working if you mistakenly place a single 000 call: “Progressive steps will be taken to formally warn the owner of the mobile handset before the handset is blocked, in addition to the caller details being provided to police as appropriate,” ACMA notes.
Almost two-thirds of calls to 000 are made on mobiles, so blocking isn’t a step to be taken lightly, but if individuals are vexatiously using the service, it seems like a reasonable step. And clearly some people are, to put it mildly, a bit thick: the official standard is now to refer to the number as ‘Triple Zero’ in case people assume they can dial the letter O on their phones to get the same results.