New guidance in place to prevent further 999 call outages


GUIDELINES to ensure that Jersey’s public emergency call service is as “reliable and effective as possible” have been updated after ten service outages between 2020 and 2022.

The new code of practice, devised by Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority, is aimed at the local telecoms operators, such as JT and Sure, which are licensed by the authority to provide the 999 service across the Island.

Someone who phones 999 gets through not to a police station but to one of the telecoms companies’ call centres, which will then transfer the call to the relevant service – police, ambulance, fire or marine rescue.

The new updated guidelines ensure the providers are clear on their obligation to provide an “end-to-end emergency call service” connecting users to the emergency services 24-hours-a-day.

In the past, the service has sometimes failed or the system has crashed. In November 2023, JT was fined £380,000 for an outage in September 2022 which left Islanders unable to call emergency services for almost an hour, which the watchdog said could have had “potentially life-threatening consequences”. It was the ninth such incident since 2020.

The tenth outage took place fewer than three months later on 9 December 2022.

And between midnight and 2am on 9 December 2022, JT’s emergency call handling platform failed, causing all emergency calls to go unanswered.

However, JT was not fined for this incident after an investigation found that the company had taken steps to address the technical failure and improve emergency call services.

Tim Ringsdore, the JCRA’s chief executive, said: “There’s been real collective progress made recently towards ensuring Jersey’s emergency calls service is as reliable and effective as possible, with the new code of practice an important element in helping achieve this.

“Our 999 guidance has a key role in maintaining expectations on standards and reinforcing obligations.”

He added: “While fairly minor, the proposed changes will help ensure continued understanding and consistency.”

In response to the various 999 incidents in recent years, the JCRA announced last June that a new committee had been set up to monitor and improve the quality of Jersey’s emergency call service line.

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