The police are reporting a problem with their 119 emergency number.


Commissioner Owen Ellington has admitted that the system is dropping calls.


As a result, calls to the emergency number are not being processed satisfactorily, and could be putting lives at risk.


The Constabulary says the phone problems are exacerbated by an overwhelming number of prank calls.




In another week or so, thousands of students will be out of school for the summer.


According to Head of the Constabulary Communications Unit (CCU), Steve Brown, that’s a nightmare for their 119 emergency number, as idle students will use the time to prank call the police.





Superintendent Brown says 119 typically receives a-hundred thousand calls a day, a large percentage of which are prank calls.


In Jamaica, there is no penalty for prank calling the police with a false report, nor does the police have the technology to track where the call originated.


Brown says legislation is needed like that in England, where it is an offense that warrants prosecution.


Superintendent Brown says the police are in discussions with telecommunications firm LIME, to install a state-of-the-art telephone system to efficiently handle the increasing number of emergency calls.


In the meantime, he’s appealing to parents to hold their children more responsible.


He’s also advising Jamaicans to get the numbers to your local police station, and use them if you’re having a problem getting through to 119.