Editorial

There Is Dire Need To Set Up A National Emergency Number

When residents call the local Police Station to register a complaint but if Police fail to act, they can call the National Emergency Number. This happened in Lautoka recently but there was no National Emergency Number. Police said there was no record of a report being lodged at the station.
12 Sep 2020 14:38
There Is Dire Need To Set  Up A National Emergency Number

If you are confused about a National Emergency Number or do not know one exists, you are not alone.

Some think it is 911 but it turns out that it is a Police number which is usually unanswered.

The Police number that is working is 917 but that is a dedicated Crime Stoppers number which keeps a tab on the movements of fugitives or persons of interest running away from the law.

The fire emergency number is 910. There have been instances when some people have called 910, they in fact want Police help.

The confusion will continue until we get one National Emergency Number that receives all kinds of calls and connects them to the relevant service.

The National Emergency Call Centre will log all the calls, decipher them, and transfer them to appropriate offices.

When residents call the local Police Station to register a complaint but if Police fail to act, they can call the National Emergency Number.

This happened in Lautoka recently but there was no National Emergency Number. Police said there was no record of a report being lodged at the station.

They have not clarified whether this might have been due to a failure of the officer to log the call and refer the matter to the team to investigate.

Police also must set the record straight on a claim that phone calls are not logged and therefore not classified as an official report. Complainants must go to the station and physically lodge their reports.

But all these shenanigans, if they are true, are unacceptable and should be eliminated and replaced with a more efficient and friendly system.

All phone calls must be logged, taken seriously, and classified as official reports. They should not be disregarded or swept under the mat.

Any call could be a matter of life and death. Police officers fielding public calls must be trained in professional frontline office etiquette. All calls should be treated as important.

This is where the National Emergency Call Centre comes in. It accepts all the calls and refers each call to the right people for action. Earlier this year, Permanent Secretary for Defence Manasa Lesuma and his line minister Inia Seruiratu disclosed that Government was working on a National Emergency Number.

It would work in synergy with the Police, Fire and other agencies associated with emergency issues. The sooner we can get it set up, the better it will be for everyone.

 



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