30 January 2019

The Line Between Life and Death

SPF Logo

By Irwan Shah and Siti Khadijah Bte Mohd Ezat


To many, dialling the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) emergency hotline ‘999’ is their immediate response when they need help for crime-related emergencies or even life and death situations. However, there are those who abuse the hotline when the situations do not warrant such emergency services.


This is an issue of concern as there has been a rise in nuisance calls from 418,732 from January to September 2017 to 517,661 in the same period of 2018. In fact, nuisance calls accounted for about 50 per cent of the total calls received for both years respectively. For every nuisance call received and responded to, there might be someone else who is facing a genuine emergency but is unable to get through to the hotline and receive help.


*Latest data gathered as of 26 November 2018


Prevention of Nuisance Calls


In some cases, callers might accidentally press the ‘Emergency Call’ function on their phones, triggering it to dial the emergency hotline. When this happens, the SPF officers will engage and educate them to prevent such reoccurrence.


It is important to note that it is an offence to make nuisance calls under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. An offender is liable to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both, if convicted of such an offence.


For non-emergency police related matters, members of the public are advised to call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000. Alternatively, they can also utilise the SPF& e-Services website at http://eservices.police.gov.sg

Below are some instances of when the public should dial the emergency hotline.


When to dial ‘999’?

• When a crime is in progress

• If you know of a criminal suspect who committed a crime

• If you know a criminal suspect’s location

• If you or others are in danger

• If you see any suspicious looking person or articles in public areas.


Examples of Emergency Situations

• Witnessing someone breaking into your neighbour’s home.

• Witnessing someone behaving suspiciously near a parked car

• Witnessing a group of people fighting on the streets with weapons

• When you spot an unattended bag on the bus, MRT or any public space

• Witnessing a hit-and-run traffic accident


Examples of Nuisance Call Situations

• Calling the Police to request for a Taxi

• Calling the Police to complain that the Taxi has not arrived

• Calling the Police to request them to pay the electricity bill

• Staying silent throughout the call and laughing incessantly after before hanging up

Last Updated on 30 January 2019