101 – The easy to remember police number

Published 31 October 2014

The Home Office has launched a UK-wide campaign to highlight 101 – the number to call to contact local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland when it’s not an emergency.

You may have concerns you want to report to the police but it’s not always appropriate to call 999, and that’s why the Home Office is reminding the public they should dial 101 when they want to get through to the police.

A campaign, including a short information film (below), radio and online advertising, is being launched to raise awareness of 101, and explain when to use the service.

More than three quarters of 999 calls received by the police are for non-emergencies, such as people reporting their vehicle has been stolen, criminal damage to their property, or wanting to discuss anti-social behaviour in their local area. The campaign will remind the public they should call 101 if it’s not an emergency to speak to their local police force, and encourage people to remind their family and friends of the service.

A quick way to contact the police

101 is an easy-to-remember number for the public to call the police from anywhere in the UK. Calling the right number allows the police to respond more quickly to genuine emergencies, such as when someone is in immediate danger, a crime is happening right now, or a suspect for a serious crime is nearby.

Launched in 2011, it now covers all police forces across the UK (including Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland), and has replaced individual forces’ local numbers. A call to 101 costs just 15 pence no matter when you call or how long your call is. Not only is this cheaper than some forces’ old local numbers, the single rate for every call means you know exactly how much your call will cost.

101 performance data

On 31 October, performance data for all police forces in England and Wales was published on this site, allowing you to see the call handling rates for your local force. The data shows recorded total call volumes, the average time to answer and call abandonment rates since April this year. This data will be published on a quarterly basis.

Policing Minister Mike Penning said:

“101 is an easy and memorable number which the public can use to contact their local police force to report crime and disorder in non-emergency circumstances.

“I’m delighted that we continue to provide the public with police data such as 101 call rates so they can judge for themselves how their local force is performing.

“This Government is determined to make the police more transparent and accessible to the communities they serve, which in turn will help increase efficiency and improve public trust in the police.”

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