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.
- 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.
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. 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.
The planned nationwide roll-out of the original service never took place and the trial itself was withdrawn from several areas after the withdrawal of Home Office funding. 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, and extended to Scotland in April 2013. The Police Service of Northern Ireland followed suit by adopting the 101 number on 24 March 2014.
Cost of calls
Similar projects such as the Missing People 116000 number; the NSPCC 116111 number; and The Samaritans 116123 number 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.
- 999 Emergency Number
- Emergency Telephone Number
- 3-1-1 – non-emergency number in many communities in the US and Canada
- NHS 111 - non-emergency health advice in England and Scotland
- "101 - The police non-emergency number". Police.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- BBC News Online (2006-03-08). "Summer launch for 101 crime line". Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- "101 - Police non-emergency number". Home Office. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "Your force's non-emergency number". Direct Gov. Archived from the original on 2009-12-23.
- "Single Non-Emergency Number Project (SNEN)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- BBC News Online (2006-05-14). "Non-emergency phone line launched". Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- "Police Roll Out 101 Number For Non-Emergency Calls". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "101". Police Scotland.
- "New 101 number for non-emergency PSNI calls". BBC News. BBC. 2014-03-14.
- "Ofcom | Ofcom makes two new 116 helpline numbers available". Consumers.ofcom.org.uk. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-11.