Nuisance phone calls - John C. Kirk
Nov. 9th, 2004
02:37 am - Nuisance phone calls
Well, that was rather unpleasant. I was just about to go to bed when the phone rang - I answered, and got someone being abusive and threatening.
It was a (drunk?) guy, with a "common" accent, for want of a better word. "Oi, John, I'll fucking do you, you fucking cunt." Repeated several times with variations. I asked who he was, and said that I thought he had the wrong number, but he ignored me. I then hung up, and tried to do 1471 to find out who he was, but when I picked up the phone again he was still there, repeating himself. Hung up again, picked up again, and it was silent, but still an active line. Hung up again, held the receiver down for longer, then picked up and got a dial-tone, so I called 1471. "The caller withheld their number." Great. I clicked the receiver again, and heard the broken dial-tone for an answerphone message - called 1571, and heard the same guy again, saying the same stuff.
Now, this is annoying - I would assume that it's also illegal, and since I have evidence (the recorded message), presumably the phone company could access the number. The customer service lines aren't open until the morning, so I called the local police station instead. They redirected me a couple of times, then I spoke to someone who told me to come down to the station.
So, I trekked over there, and spoke to the officers on duty. They told me that there was nothing they could do about it, so I should just go back home, and speak to BT in the morning. Their advice was that I should get my line adjusted to block incoming calls with the number withheld (sounds like a good idea, to cut down on my phone spam from companies as much as anything else), and maybe change my number. Apparently the harrassment legislation says that there's nothing they can do for an isolated incident, particularly if I don't have any idea about who it was. I do wonder whether it was a wrong number, since "John" is a fairly common name. On the other hand, I don't share the police's optimism of "Oh well, that's alright then", since it then implies that there's another guy called John who's got someone after him. I'm sure that the phone company have the technology to match up the incoming number, particularly so soon after it happened, but the police said that they won't do it. If this is the legal scenario (data protection act or whatever), then I can't blame the police for having their hands tied, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating for me. I was a bit shaken just after it happened, but that's now been displaced by a growing anger.
I'll speak to BT in the morning, and see if there's anything they can do. If I do change my number, then I'll give it out on a more restricted basis (not that I exactly advertised it far and wide before). If anyone has any legal advice about how to handle this, please let me know. If you have any illegal advice, then obviously I couldn't listen to it, and I certainly wouldn't be willing to buy you a pint at the pub by way of thanks. Hypothetically speaking.
Anyway, I now seem to have lost my inclination to sleep, so it looks like it's going to be a long night.