Do you know how to contact the Police?

Thursday, 14th January 2016

A campaign reminding the public they should call their local police on 101 for non-emergency issues is being launched by the Home Office.

More than three quarters of 999 calls received by the police are for non-emergencies, such as people reporting that their home has been burgled, their vehicle has been stolen, or wanting to discuss anti-social behaviour in their local area.

To help the police tackle crime effectively, the public is being reminded they should call 101 to speak to the police when there isn’t a crime in progress or risk of violence or to life. The campaign will also encourage the public to remind their family and friends of the service.

101 is an easy-to-remember number for the public to call the police, and is designed to reduce the number of non-emergency 999 calls. This 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 2012, 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 how long your call is.

Not only is this cheaper than some forces’ local numbers, the single rate for every call means you know exactly how much your call will cost.

When should I use 101?

101 police posterYou should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. For example, if:

  • Your car has been stolen
  • Your property has been damaged
  • You suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood

Or to:

  • Give the police information about crime in your area
  • Speak to the police about a general enquiry

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

What about nuisance or environmental issues?

You should continue to contact your local council about general issues in your area like:

  • Dog fouling
  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Dumping and fly tipping
  • Vandalism of public property

For information about how to contact your local council please visit in a new window).

Where is 101 available?

101 is only available if you are calling from within England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

If you need to contact a police force whilst you are abroad, please use the list of alternative non-emergency numbers.

How much does it cost to call 101?

Calls to 101 (from both 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.

The 15p cost of the call goes to the telephony providers to cover the cost of carrying the calls. The police and government receive no money from calls to 101.

Who will answer my 101 call?

When you call 101, the system will determine your location and connect you to the police force covering that area. You will hear a recorded message announcing the police force you are being connected to. The recorded message will then give you a choice of which force to be connected to.

Calls to 101 are answered by police officers and staff in the control room of the local police force. This ensures that staff with local knowledge can answer and deal with the calls and respond appropriately.