Hoax calls can ruin lives
Police have worked with students to produce a hoax caller campaign
The Honicknowle neighbourhood policing team, Joe Plant a third year Plymouth University student (film creator/director) and a handful of St Boniface College students have come together in Plymouth and produced a trailer and short film which depicts the potentially lethal consequences of making hoax calls to the police.
The film adopts a similar format to that of the popular crime drama 24, in which viewers get to see different events from a set time period of time simultaneously. In this case, the viewers see the actions of a group of hoax callers, a burglar and their victim, a police control room operator and a police officer. The film shows viewers how a hoax call can influence decisions taken regarding the deployment of police resources and put people’s lives in danger.
View a trailer of the film
The full film can be viewed on our YouTube channel.
The project came about after over twenty-five hoax calls were made by a local young person from the Plymouth area which led to armed officers being deployed to a number of fabricated incidents. The youngster said they had made the calls ‘for a laugh’ and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the implications of their actions. The neighbourhood policing team decided to do some problem solving work with their local young community to tackle the issue. PCSO Kate Stanley said “After doing a bit of research, it became apparent that there was nothing in existence that we could use to educate youngsters about the possible consequences of hoax calling. We decided very early on that it would be good to get input from the young people themselves to make sure whatever we developed would capture their attention and appeal to them.”
As well as being uploaded to the internet, there is going to be showing of the film at Vue cinemas in Plymouth, exclusively for pupils from secondary schools in Plymouth, in a bid to spread the word that hoax calling can be dangerous. Alongside the film, the pupils from St Boniface are developing some posters in partnership with the police to support the campaign. Additionally, St Boniface school is going to be using the video to develop a teaching package and lesson plan, which will be shared with schools across the City.
PC Greg Rendle said “This project has been brilliant because everyone involved has got something out it, but there is a serious message behind the film which hopefully will make young people think twice before dialling 999 as a prank.”
It is intended that the film will be shown to young people in other areas of Devon & Cornwall to spread the message further.