A technical fault with the 111 system prevented people reaching the emergency services line for over 40 minutes in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police say they are now investigating the incident which occurred nationwide and left 111 callers with an automated message saying the system was overloaded and could not proceed any further.
Acting National Manager for Communication Centres, Inspector Mal Schwartfeger said the fault was with the Police system rather than Spark.
The Spark initial call answer point identified the issue and alerted Police.
He says, “Police went to the backup system and all available call takers were placed on phones to reduce the queue.
It took 35 to 40 minutes to clear the backlog of calls.”
“Police remained on the backup system until the main system was restored and operational at 2am.”
Police have apologised to those affected at the time and say the system has been restored to normal service.
Further investigation is underway to ascertain exactly what caused the fault.
Inspector Schwartfeger says, “any fault with the 111 system is of concern because of the risk to people who may be in life-threatening situations.
We will be taking any necessary steps to ensure the fault does not occur again”