TWO 10-year-old Bridlington girls who ended up costing police around £3,000 in resources after making a hoax 999 call will not face criminal charges.
The two girls called the Yorkshire Ambulance Service on July 30 claiming to be a three-year old girl called Ellie whose mum had collapsed in her kitchen at home in Leeds and was not moving.
Ambulance control staff were unable to trace the call and a national police search was launched, with more than 12 officers being involved in the case at one stage.
Within hours of a televised appeal from West Yorkshire Police and the ambulance service going out it was being broadcast on news channels, wesbites and social networking sites around the world in what was belived to be a race against time.
Now after considering the case the Youth Offending Team and the Crown Prosecution Service have decided that no criminal charges will be brought.
Detective Superintendent David Pervin, from West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “The investigation of this hoax call took up a significant amount of police time and resources that could have been better spent dealing with real incidents.
“Our priority was one of preservation of life, to find this ‘little girl and her mum’ and get help to them.
“We treated the call as genuine on the basis of what was said and the circumstances in which it was received along with the fact that the number that made the call could not initially be identified or the caller traced to establish the validity of the call.
“With the media’s assistance, our appeal for information quickly captured the public’s imagination.
“It is clear from the calls we received and the many comments made on social media and across the internet that people, both locally and nationally, were moved by the highly emotive nature of the situation detailed in the call and wanted to help.
“Once further investigations had established that the call was in fact a hoax those people understandably felt let down, although we were all relieved that the situation wasn’t real and that no one had suffered any actual harm.”
The two ten-year-old girls are now taking part in an ongoing Youth Offending Team programme which is challenging their behaviour.
As part of that programme they are being taken to see emergency service call handlers to hear about the impact such calls have on the emergency services and the individual call handlers involved.
DS Pervin said: “The girls involved in the incident are now going through a formal process to challenge their behaviour and make them appreciate the impact of their actions.
“We hope it teaches them a very important lesson about how misuse of the 999 system can cause significant unnecessary work for the emergency services, and how hoax calls can result in diverting limited resources away from dealing with incidents where there are genuine calls for help from members of the public.”