Dropped 999/112 calls paras 5.10 to 5.19
Dropped 999/112 calls (and circumstances where data may be acquired or disclosed outside the provisions of the Act)
5.10 To enable the provision of emergency assistance in response to emergency calls, the emergency service can call upon an Emergency Operator or relevant service provider to disclose data about the maker of an emergency call within the emergency period (within one hour of the termination of the emergency call) outside the provisions of the Act.
5.11 This is necessary in situations where the Emergency Operator may become aware of the premature termination of an emergency call. There are a number of reasons for these ‘dropped’ emergency calls, which cannot be reconnected. For example:
- there is a fault on the line;
- the emergency service requests to be reconnected where the caller was incapacitated or unable to maintain the call and reconnection is tried and fails;
- the emergency service considers that safety of the person making the call may be put at risk if the Emergency Operator seeks to reconnect the call, particularly in cases where a crime is in progress, for example domestic violence or a robbery;
- the Emergency Operator diagnoses a problem with the call or the strength of a mobile phone signal.
5.12 If an emergency call is disconnected prematurely for any reason, technical or otherwise, and the Emergency Operator is aware or is made aware of this, then the Emergency Operator can elect to represent the data disclosed when the call was put to the emergency service initially. This voluntary disclosure would fall outside the scope of the Act.
5.13 The Emergency Operator can anticipate the needs of the emergency service and represent the information disclosed automatically to the emergency service without prompting.
5.14 The Emergency Operator can choose to represent the data, whether prompted or unprompted, only for the period of time that the data is held specifically as emergency call data. This period is not normally longer than one hour from the termination of the emergency call.
5.15 There are circumstances where the Emergency Operator cannot automatically present the emergency service with communications data about the maker of an emergency call. For example, because the emergency service does not have equipment to receive the data automatically or the data is held by a third party service provider and not readily available to the Emergency Operator. In those circumstances, and in order to provide an effective emergency service, the Emergency Operator may disclose the data it has orally.
5.16 When disclosure of data about the maker of an emergency call is required during the emergency period, the emergency service controller must provide a unique reference number for the emergency call and provide the name of the authorising officer. Where telephone numbers (or other identifiers) are being relayed, the relevant number must be read twice and repeated back by the CSP to confirm the correct details have been taken.
5.17 If the emergency call is clearly a hoax there is no emergency. Where an emergency service concludes that an emergency call is a hoax and the reason for acquiring data in relation to that call is to detect the crime of making a hoax call – and not to provide an emergency service – then the application process under the Act must be undertaken.
5.18 Should an emergency service require communications data relating to the making of any emergency call after the expiry of the emergency period of one hour from the termination of the call, that data must be acquired or obtained under the provisions of the Act.
5.19 Where communications data about a third party (other than the maker of an emergency call) is required to deal effectively with an emergency call, the emergency service may make an urgent oral application for the data.
-  See paragraphs 3.47 – 3.53