101 – The non-emergency alternative.

19th November 2009

In the case of an emergency, the majority of people would immediately dial 999. We’ve had that number forced into our heads from when we were toddlers and unfortunately, one or two of us have had to dial that number before. If it’s a genuine emergency, than that’s the number to call.

However, the emergency services have been coming increasingly worried about the amount of non-emergency calls that have been made. An estimated 80% of ‘emergency calls’ made to the police in recent years, weren’t emergencies at all.

Last year, the police reported an alarming amount of nuisance and completely irrelevant calls being made to the already overused telephone number.

One woman complained she was unable to get through to Strictly Come Dancing to vote for Tom Chambers in the final.

While a hoax caller reported Santa was breaking into a house with Rudolf.

Police also received a 999 call from a man who complained staff at a takeaway had wrongly put mushrooms on his pizza.
Another caller dialled the number to ask for chemist opening times.

While these might seem funny and amusing, the consequences of the calls could be catastrophic. While the operators are on the telephone dealing with these time wasters, a genuine emergency could be stopped from getting through and dealt with.

For this reason, the Police have released a non-emergency telephone number, 101, which can be dialed from either your mobile or landline. There is a small charge of 10p for calling this number to help keep the number up and running.

So under which circumstances should you dial this number?

Dial 101 to alert the police about:

• vandalism and graffiti;
• noise nuisance;
• threatening and abusive behaviour;
• abandoned vehicles;
• dumping and fly tipping;
• drunk and rowdy groups;
• drug related anti-social behaviour; and
• broken street lighting.

Obviously, if people’s safety is in danger, immediately dial 999. These numbers are to give those in doubt a number to call.

For a list of alternative non-emergency local police force numbers, please click here