101 – The police non-emergency number
When to call 101?
You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response.
For example, you should call 101 if:
- your car has been stolen
- your property has been damaged
- you suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood
- report a minor traffic collision
- give the police information about crime in your area
- speak to the police about a general enquiry
101 has been introduced as part of the government’s wider work to improve access to the police, ease pressure on 999, and help to efficiently and effectively tackle crime and disorder.
What is the difference between 101 and 999?
You should continue to 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. To contact the police for any other reason, call 101.
What 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.
Why does it cost 15p to call 101?
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.
Everyone calling the police for non-emergency matters now knows exactly how much a call will cost them, and can be assured of equal access whether they are on a pay-as-you-go mobile or a home landline.
Who will answer my 101 call?
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.
You will not be put through to a large national call centre.
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. If you are on a boundary between two or more forces, the recorded message will give you a choice of which force to be connected to.
I am deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, can I call 101?
Yes, you can textphone 18001 101.
What if English is not my first language?
Your local police have access to professional interpreters so they can quickly translate your call if you have difficulty speaking English.
What about reporting general nuisance or environmental issues?
You should continue to call your local council for things like:
- reporting graffiti
- dog fouling
- abandoned vehicles
- dumping and fly tipping
For more information on how to contact your local council please visit www.direct.gov.uk
What should I do if the 101 number is currently blocked on the phone at my workplace / college / business premises?
As 101 is a new number, some business phone systems and switchboards may not yet be programmed to recognise 101. Please contact the person who administers your phone system to request that access is opened to the 101 number.
Is 101 available outside England and Wales?
101 is only available if you are calling from England and Wales. If you need to contact a police force in England and Wales whilst you are abroad, please use the list of alternative numbers for the police forces.
Is there an alternative number I can use to call to contact my local police force?
Whilst members of the public are encouraged to use the ‘101’ number to contact their local police force, where this is not possible, there is a list of alternative numbers which can be used for contacting police forces in England and Wales.