Police 101

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Law enforcement
in the United Kingdom
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'101' is the Single Non-Emergency Number in the United Kingdom. It automatically connects the caller to their local police force, in a similar system to the 999 emergency number.[1][2]


Promotional identity of the scheme

The 101 service is for reporting minor and non-emergency crimes where immediate or high-priority response is not required, such as:

  • To report theft of a vehicle
  • To report damage to property
  • To report suspected drug use or dealing
  • To report minor traffic accidents
  • To give the police information about crime
  • To speak to the police about a general enquiry

When the number is dialled the caller is offered to be put through to their local force worked out by where they are calling from. The caller may press # if they wish to be put through to an alternative force.[3]

The emergency number 112 or 999 should be called when:

  • A crime is in progress
  • Someone suspected of a crime is nearby
  • There is danger to life
  • Violence is being used or threatened

A 101 call may be transferred to the 112/999 facilities if it is deemed to be an emergency.

All police forces maintain dedicated individual phone numbers for those who are unable to call the 101 number or need to contact a non-local force.[4]


Previously the police forces all had individual local phone numbers, the system made all police forces non-emergency number 101.

The concept was piloted in Hampshire and Isle of Wight in 2006 for £3.3 million, and then extended to Northumbria, Cardiff, South Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.[5][6][7]

Afterwards it was rolled out across all English and Welsh police forces between 2011 and 2012,[8] and extended to Scotland in April 2013.[9]

The Police Service of Northern Ireland changed from 0845 600 8000 to 101 on 24 March 2014[10] retaining 028 9065 0222 as a geographic-rate alternative number.[11]

Cost of calls[edit]

The service costs a premium rate fixed fee charge of 15p per call from landlines and mobiles.[1] Vodafone UK has been chosen as the single supplier for the 101 service.[12]


Similar projects such as the Missing People 116000 number; the NSPCC 116111 number; and The Samaritans 116123 number[13] are all part of the European Unions Harmonised service of social value commission, who assign simple telephone numbers to freephone helplines of organisations who help citizens in need.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "101 - The police non-emergency number". Police.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  2. ^ BBC News Online (2006-03-08). "Summer launch for 101 crime line". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  3. ^ "101 - Police non-emergency number". Home Office. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  4. ^ "Your force's non-emergency number". Direct Gov. Archived from the original on 2009-12-23. 
  5. ^ http://www4.havant.gov.uk/orion1/reports/exec/20080212009.pdf
  6. ^ "Single Non-Emergency Number Project (SNEN)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  7. ^ BBC News Online (2006-05-14). "Non-emergency phone line launched". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  8. ^ "Police Roll Out 101 Number For Non-Emergency Calls". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  9. ^ "101". Police Scotland. 
  10. ^ "New 101 number for non-emergency PSNI calls". BBC News. BBC. 2014-03-14. 
  11. ^ "Alternative non-emergency numbers". Police UK. 
  12. ^ 999 to get non-emergency back-up
  13. ^ "Ofcom | Ofcom makes two new 116 helpline numbers available". Consumers.ofcom.org.uk. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 

External links[edit]