Frequently asked questions
What is 101?
101 is now the only number to call when you want to get through to your local police when it’s less urgent than 999.
101 replaces our 0300 123 1212 number, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Calls to 101 from landlines and mobile networks cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long you are on the phone.
Why is 101 being introduced?
101 is the new number to call to contact your local police. It is being rolled out by the Home Office, across England and Wales with the support of all 43 police forces. 101 will:
Help communities keep their neighbourhoods safe by giving them one easy way to contact their local police force to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency police response;
Make the police more accessible to their communities while reducing pressure on the 999 system and helping them to identify and allocate resources where they are needed the most;
Assist the police to cut crime by making it easier for the public to pass on information about crimes in their neighbourhoods and allowing the police to take swift action; and
Over time, enable partners to join up with the police to provide communities with even easier access to a wider range if local services.
Why should you call 101?
Using 101 or our online crime reporting service for situations that do not require an immediate police response helps keep 999 available for when there is an emergency. If a crime is taking place, or somebody is in immediate danger, always call 999.
How much does a call to 101 cost?
Calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long the call lasts.
Why are calls to 101 not free of charge like 999?
101 is a service made available to members of the public to be used in situations that do not require an immediate police response. As such, it is appropriate that a contribution is made to the cost of providing this service. The police service has always charged for non ‘emergency’ related calls and the introduction of the National 101 number allows for this cost to be standardised across the country. The Home Office have negotiated a competitive price for this service, and in many force areas the 15 pence per call charge replaces previous higher charges. 101 is not a profit making telephone number.
If people have to pay 15 pence to call 101, will they not just call 999 instead as it is free?
We acknowledge that there will always be a risk that people will use the 999 system inappropriately rather than pay 15 pence to call 101, for example if they do not have enough credit on their mobile phone. We will continue to raise awareness of the consequences of inappropriate use of 999 in order to limit this. Where the 999 system is being abused we will seek to take appropriate action that can include having your phone disconnected.
Is it unrealistic to try to change people’s behaviour?
We recognise that ‘Call the police on 999’ is something that is taught to us from a very young age. Whilst it can be hard to change people’s behaviour, it has not always been clear to members of the public how they should contact us in situations that do not require an immediate policing response. We hope that by introducing a simple and easy to remember number - 101 - we will reduce the number of inappropriate 999 calls received.
Is 101 going to replace 999?
No, 101 is the number to use to contact the police in situations that do not require an immediate police response. 999 will continue to be the number that you need to dial when you need to report an emergency. An emergency is when a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.
Are calls to 101 answered by the Police?
Yes, all calls to 101 are answered by police operators. Calls may be recorded for training, development, evidential and public safety reasons.
What happens if you call 101 but it is an emergency situation?
If you call 101 and it is deemed to be an emergency situation, our trained police operators will put you through to 999 for immediate assistance.
Always call 999 in an emergency. For example, this is when you need an immediate response because a crime is happening; someone suspected of a crime is nearby or someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.
Is 101 available outside of London?
Yes, 101 is currently available in some parts of the United Kingdom, and is being rolled out to all 43 police forces in England and Wales between June and December 2011.
What happens if I am calling the police about something that happened outside of London?
If you are calling about something that happened in a different area still call 101 and our police operators will put you through to the relevant police force to deal with your query.
At a time of public sector budget reductions, why is a new telephone service being introduced?
101 has been introduced to provide members of the public with improved access to police non-emergency services. It is hoped that the availability of an easy to remember number for members of the public to call in situations that do not require an immediate police response, will in time reduce the pressure on the 999 emergency system, helping us to identify and allocate resources where they are needed the most.
Who is funding 101?
The national 101 telephony infrastructure is funded by the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government. The operation of the 101 number in London is funded by the Metropolitan Police Service. 101 is not a profit making telephone number.
What will happen to the 0300 123 1212 number?
Once 101 has been established through public usage, the current 0300 123 1212 telephone number will be phased out by the Metropolitan Police Service.
I am Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impairment, can I call 101?
If you are Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, a text phone is available on 18001 101.
What if English is not my first language, can I still call 101?
Our police operators have access to professional interpreters who can quickly translate your call if you cannot, or have difficulty, speaking English.
What if I want to speak to my Safer Neighbourhoods team?
You can still speak to your Safer Neighbourhoods team by calling their direct telephone number. If you do not have their details, they can be found on our website www.met.police.uk by selecting, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’ and ‘Team Finder’ and then entering your postcode. Alternatively you can call 101 and one of our police operators will be happy to assist you.