Revealed: Pokemon Go sparks 999 calls once every two days

POLICE are being called about Pokemon Go related incidents once every two days, figures have shown.

Tuesday, 23rd August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:17 pm
Police have received several calls about 'crimes' related to Pokemon Go

Reports of a robbery and four nuisance incidents have included the popular mobile app game since it was launched in the middle of last month.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act included 999 calls about two vehicle-related incidents, four nuisance incidents, a robbery, two thefts and a public order incident. One related to someone stealing Pokemon cards

The News asked Hampshire police to search its system for Pokemon Go and Pokemon keywords.

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There were 10 incidents reported between July 5 and July 28. The incidents were most frequent between July 14, when the game was released in Britain, and July 28. Some users had downloaded it before it was properly available.

Incidents were reported in Portsmouth, Waterlooville, Fareham, Southsea, Ryde, Winchester, Blackwater, Basingstoke and Fleet.

Nine of the incidents were initially classed as crimes, but then closed as non-crimes. In the case over the cards theft, a person was summonsed to court.

Sam Clark, 32, was the first person in Britain to collect all 142 creatures after walking 140 miles with his phone in Southampton and Gosport.

He said: ‘The problem with every game is you do get some bad apples.

‘I respect all signs, if you’re in a public area, play with lots of friends, but in restricted area please respect that area.

‘I wouldn’t advise anyone to walk the streets alone at night, let alone with a £500 phone. You need to be safe. You can’t be completely safe playing any game but there’s an awesome community out there.’

He added players should not go to an unfamiliar area alone.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘This Freedom of Information request refers to a small number of reports which have been made to us in good faith and relate to someone using their mobile phone, usually in a public area, in a manner that the caller deemed at the time to be suspicious. Upon further scrutiny or investigation it was established that the vast majority of these reports did not relate to criminal activity.

‘These reports represent a very small proportion of the number of calls we take which indicates people using their mobile phones for gaming purposes has not caused significant concern to the general public nor has there been an identified rise in crime relating to this usage.’

However, the constabulary has used the game to a more constructive effect, too – at the end of July, two PCSOs were pictured in Victoria Park, Portsmouth, playing Pokemon Go, and a spokesman said then it was a useful way of ‘engaging with people’.