Police 101

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Law enforcement
in the United Kingdom
Types of agency
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Statutory Instruments

101 is the Single Non-Emergency Number in the United Kingdom which 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

The system determines the caller's location and automatically connects them to the police force covering that area unless the caller chooses otherwise.[1]

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 who need to contact a non-local force.[3]

A textphone service is available on 18001 101 for those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired.[1]

Cost of calls[edit]

Calls to 101 cost a fixed fee of 15 pence per call from landlines and mobiles, regardless of time of day or duration.[1] Vodafone UK has been chosen as the single supplier for the 101 service.[4]


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

A pilot 101 system with joint Police and local authority call centres began in 2006.[5][6] First introduced in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for £3.3 million, the service was later extended Cardiff, Sheffield, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear and Leicester City and Rutland.[6][7][8][9]

The planned nationwide roll-out of the original service never took place and the trial itself was withdrawn from several areas after the withdrawal of Home Office funding.[10][11] In 2009, the number was instead adopted as a straightforward non-emergency number by the four police forces in Wales, with the local authority element dropped.

The number was then was rolled out across all English police forces between 2011 and 2012,[12] and extended to Scotland in April 2013.[13] The Police Service of Northern Ireland followed suit by adopting the 101 number on 24 March 2014.[14]


Similar projects such as the Missing People 116000 number; the NSPCC 116111 number; and The Samaritans 116123 number[15] are all part of the European Union's harmonised service of social value commission, who assign simple telephone numbers to freephone helplines of organisations who help citizens in need.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]