BlackBerry users reminded that calling the police won’t charge their phone


BlackBerry users have been warned that calling the emergency services will not charge their phone battery after some were fooled by bogus information that was circulated online. British Police have reminded users that unnecessary calls waste resources and could put lives in danger.

“Hoax 999 of any kind are very dangerous,” said a spokesperson for West Mercia Police. “They divert much needed resources that should be deployed to potentially life threatening situations or where a serious crime is in progress.”

The spoof information, which was shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, claimed BlackBerry users could top up low batteries by calling 999 — the U.K.’s emergency telephone number. Many did so under the assumption that as long as they hang up quickly, they would not be wasting police time.

That’s a common misconception.

“Even when the caller hangs up on an 999 call, it is considered abandoned,” WMP explained. “Both our officers and staff will do everything they can to locate and identify the caller to ensure the caller is not at risk of any harm.”

WMP reminded BlackBerry users that the only way to top up their phone’s battery is to charge it. It’s also worth remembering that misusing emergency numbers — not only in the U.K. but also in the U.S. and other countries — is illegal and could get you into trouble.

Amazingly, this isn’t the first time that police in the U.K. have had to issue this warning to BlackBerry users. The same hoax fooled people in other parts of the country just last summer.