Wrong number: Police in Swiss canton report 350-pocket dials a day
The emergency services in Canton Aargau are facing a growing number of pocket-dials and unintended emergency calls, following a software update affecting certain smartphones. The unintended calls can lead to a backlog in police call centres and patrols being unnecessarily deployed.
Samsung phone update could be the cause of the calls
According to SRF, the number of unintended phone calls made to emergency services throughout the month of May was significantly more than in previous months. On a peak day in May, the number of accidental calls received by emergency services in the canton of Aargau alone was 362, which compares significantly to the number of “real” emergency calls per day: between 400 and 500. In previous years, the number of accidental calls per month averaged around just 100.
The police in Aargau told SRF that several things are likely to have contributed to the sharp increase in emergency calls. One of the key factors is the increase in the number of devices, such as smartwatches, that have an emergency call function.
There are also new features on many mobile devices that can detect falls when hiking or mountain biking and automatically make an emergency call. In particular, a new Samsung update affecting Samsung Galaxy phones now makes it even easier to place emergency calls, according to the cantonal police in Aargau.
Accidental emergency calls are not punishable by Swiss law
Accidentally placing emergency calls is not an offence under Swiss law and police in the canton have warned people who pocket-dial the emergency services to disconnect the call as soon as possible. If the call hasn’t reached the emergency call centre yet, the cantonal police advise callers to hang up on the call quickly and there should be no problem.
However, if you accidentally dial through to the emergency services and get connected, simply explain that it is a mistake and let the call handlers move on to the next caller. While unintended emergency calls are not punishable in Switzerland, false alarms are. Hoaxing and pranking emergency services with calls is a criminal offence in Switzerland and can land you in serious legal trouble.
Image: Shutterstock.com / Simon Vayro