Police launch new 101 phone number for non-emergency calls

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THERE is a new number to dial for the police for non-urgent calls.

Until this week, if you wanted the police you dialled 999 in an emergency, like an accident or when people or property were in danger, but had to find a switchboard number for the county’s force for all other inquiries, like if your car was stolen or you suspected drug use or dealing. But Suffolk and Norfolk police are now part of the 101 non-urgent call system, which is being rolled out across the country. All forces will use it by the end of the year.

The aim is to create an easy way to contact the local police force to report non-emergency crimes, disorder or anti-social behaviour or to speak to local police officers.

Suffolk’s assistant chief constable Paul Marshall 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. 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.”

Calls cost 15p from all networks regardless of how long they are.

When calling 101, the system determines the caller’s location and connects them to the force covering that area. A recorded message announces which police force the caller is being connected to, but gives them a choice if they are on a boundary between two or more forces. There is also an option of speaking to an operator to contact another force.