A spokesman for the Metropolitan police announced the introduction of a dedicated, automated bomb alert phoneline today. The phoneline, which will be an 0845 number, should be introduced by the end of the month.
"Since we outsourced all emergency '999' calls to our call centre in Mumbai, we noticed some alarming statistics. Customers wishing to make a coded bomb threat were leaving negative feedback about the way their calls were dealt with," explained Chief Inspector Townsend. "The call centre staff just couldn't understand many of the thick, Irish accents, or the plummy, nasal tones of animal rights extremists."
The call system will allow a user to press 1 for Irish separatist or loyalist callers, 2 for jihadists, 3 for animal rights or vegan issues, or to hold for any other causes. The police have handed out PIN numbers to all known dissident groups, to help avoid any hoax calls. However, unknown groups can also use the service, once they have gone through some basic security questions, 'for data protection'.
Sargeant Gadd revealed that there had been much debate about the 'hold' music, which would only be used at peak threat times, such as royal weddings and the 2012 Olympics. They quickly dismissed Muddy Waters' 'Boom Boom Boom' and anything by Rage Against the Machine, eventually settling on Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' on continuous loop.
"By introducing an automated system, we are adapting to the explosion in demand for up-to-the-minute, combustive threat solutions," said Superintendent Lewis, in charge of Communications, Slogans and Excuses. "We're also planning to introduce a dedicated 'bomb app' so threats can be placed by smartphone, and we're hoping that terrorists will also consider using Latitude and Facebook's 'check-in' service, to aid us in discovering their devices".
Mr Lewis confirmed that any such technology would need to be Flash compatible.