Published: Friday, 17th April 2020

A nuisance caller who cost the NHS more than £45,000 in wasted resources has been issued with a five year Criminal Behaviour Order.

Stephen Holder of Snodhurst Avenue, Chatham, made 414 nuisance calls to South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) and Kent Police over a period of one year.

The 62-year-old would threaten to harm himself during the phone calls which would often last for more than one hour.

Despite being offered various levels of support services and advice from Kent Police and Medway Council, Holder continued to make the phone calls which resulted in Kent Police issuing warnings and subsequently Medway Council’s Community Safety Team issuing a Community Protection Notice. Despite this Holder continued to make the calls and this resulted in a fixed penalty notice which he failed to pay. Having exhausted all other avenues Kent Police made the decision to take action against him.

Between January 2019 and February 2020 Holder made 118 calls to Kent Police which is estimated to have cost the taxpayer around £15,000 while 296 calls were made to the NHS. His phone calls resulted in officers and ambulance staff attending his address to ensure his welfare.

On April 14 2020 Holder appeared before Medway Magistrates’ Court where he was issued with a five year CBO.

The order states that Holder must not:

1) Call emergency services unless there is a genuine requirement for emergency assistance. This includes; any police force, any ambulance or NHS service including 111, or any fire and rescue service in England or Wales.

2) Withhold identity details or provide false details when calling the police for a genuine reason.

3) Instigate any third party to call an emergency service on his behalf unless he is in genuine need of assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, Lifeline, social services, support workers or any other charity/organisation.

Completely unacceptable 

Cllr Adrian Gulvin, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources and Chairman of the Medway Community Safety Partnership, said: "Misusing the emergency call system and abusing frontline emergency workers is completely unacceptable. This result sends a clear message that wasting the time of our emergency services will not be tolerated. We will continue to work closely with our partners in Kent Police and SECAmb and support enforcement action to address all forms of anti-social behaviour."

His actions took officers and paramedics away from those who may have required their help

PC Beth Honess from Medway’s Community Safety Unit said: "Holder was a persistent nuisance caller who not only targeted Kent Police but also the ambulance service. His actions took officers and paramedics away from people who may really have required their help and despite efforts to work with other agencies and assist Holder where he may have needed support he continued to make the nuisance phone calls. I hope the outcome makes others think twice about behaving in a similar manner."

We hope this will deter those who use the service irresponsibly

A spokesperson for SECAmb said: "We are pleased that this case has been through the courts. Our frequent caller team works closely to provide support to this often vulnerable group of individuals but we will also take action, where appropriate, to ensure they are held accountable for their actions. We hope this acts as a deterrent to those who use our service irresponsibly."

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