Monday, October 10, 2011
Less than half of us know the number to call police, if we’re worried about something but it’s not an emergency.
Police say the new number should be used to report issues which don’t require an emergency response. People should call 101 if their vehicle has been stolen, their property has been damaged, they suspect drug use or dealing, they want to give the police information about crime in their area, or would like to speak to a local police officer.
The new number is not for emergencies. In an emergency, police say you should always ring 999 for immediate assistance.
That includes situations where life is in danger, a serious offence is in progress, a suspect is at a scene, an alleged offender is identified at any location, there is imminent likelihood of violence/damage to a person’s property or there is a serious road accident.
Now forces across the country are launching a new number 101 - which senior officers hope will be as memorable as 999.
Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies will next week begin transferring over to the new number, from the current 0845 456 4567 number in Norfolk’s case and 01473 613500 for Suffolk.
Cambrideshire police hope to make the switch to 101 from the current 0345 456 4564 by the end of the month.
Kevin Wilkins, Norfolk’s Assistant Chief Constable, said: “Everyone knows to ring 999 in an emergency – but research shows that only half of the public know how to contact their local police if they want to talk to them about less urgent issues.
“The introduction of an easy-to-remember, three-digit number should help address this.
“By the end of the year, people will be able to use 101 to contact their local police force’s non-emergency service, wherever they are in England and Wales.
“It is also hoped that the introduction of 101 will help divert more non-urgent calls away from the 999 system, freeing up call handlers to deal with genuine emergencies.”
By January 2012, 101 will be the number for non-emergency calls to all forces across the UK.
All calls will cost 15p and special software will put the caller in touch with their nearest force, while those calling from a mobile phone in an area on the boundary of two forces will be offered a choice of which they wish to speak to.
The move is part of a Government drive to improve access to police and reduce pressure on the 999 number.
Only half of us know how to contact our local police, the 2010 British Crime Survey found.