Non-Emergency 101 (Police) and 111 (NHS)

Call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. For example:

  • if your car has been stolen;
  • if your property has been damaged;
  • where you suspect drug use or dealing;
  • if you want to report a minor traffic collision; or
  • if you want to give the police information about crime in your area.

In an emergency always call 999 when you need an immediate response because 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.

  • Calls from 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.
  • Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired callers can access the service via textphone on 18001 101.
  • 101 is available 24 hours a day.
  • When you call 101, you’ll be able to speak to the police force control room of your local police force.
  • When you call 101, the police will act on the information they receive.
  • Calling 101 will not result in your call receiving a lower priority than if you had called 999 about a non-emergency issue.
  • You can call 101 if you simply want to talk to your local police officer.
  • You should contact Redbridge Borough Council via Redbridge i for things such as:
    • reporting graffiti
    • abandoned vehicles
    • dumping and fly tipping
    • vandalism.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Why do you need a new non-emergency number?

A. The Government is committed to cutting crime and empowering citizens to keep their neighbourhoods safe. Key to achieving this is making it easier for the public to contact the police and report crime and disorder. The 2010 British Crime Survey found that only 54% of the public know how to contact their local police if they want to talk to them about policing, crime or anti-social behaviour.

Giving people an easy and memorable number to call to contact their local police force could improve reporting of crime and disorder, ease the pressure on 999, and help efficiently and effectively tackle crime and disorder.

Q. How is this different to the original 101 programme?

A. The original 101 programme piloted the introduction of 101 as a partnership between the police and the local council. The 101 number is now a national police non-emergency number which connects callers directly to their local police force, who understand local needs and priorities. Over time, and subject to local agreement, police forces could choose to work with their local partners to offer access to a broader range of local services.

Q. Where will calls be answered?

A. Calls to 101 will be answered by police call handlers in the control room of the local police force, in the same way as if the caller had dialled the old non-emergency number for that force. This ensures that staff with local knowledge can answer and deal with calls in a way that best meets the needs of their communities.

Q. How much will it cost the public to call 101?

A. From 1 July 2011, calls to 101 will cost 15 pence for the entire call, no matter how long you are on the phone – this applies to both landlines and mobile phones. For the first time ever, everyone calling the police for non-emergency matters will know exactly how much it will cost them and will be assured of equal access whether they are on a pay-as-you-go mobile or a home landline. For many, this will be cheaper than the current cost of calling the police when it is not an emergency – calls to some existing police non-emergency numbers can cost 40 pence per minute on pay-as you-go tariffs.

Q. Aren’t you just making it more expensive for the public to contact the police?

A. The 15 pence per call charge is a competitive and transparent rate, when compared with other police non-emergency numbers, such as an 0845 number which can cost the public over 40 pence per minute from mobile phones. Research shows that a small fixed charge would not put people off calling the service but would reduce the likelihood of the service being used inappropriately.

Q. Why are you increasing the cost to callers in existing 101 areas from 10 pence to 15 pence per call?

A. The original 10 pence tariff was set for the pilot programme in 2006, and as the 101 number is now being introduced nationally it has been necessary to increase the cost to the caller to ensure that the service remains financially sustainable. Police forces and government receive no money from calls to 101.

Q. Isn’t this a move away from local policing?

A. No. This is about improving access to local policing. Calls to 101 are handled in the same way as existing non-emergency calls to police forces. The call handlers can connect callers to their local team or station or despatch officers to deal with incidents as required.

Q. Why is the Government introducing two similar non-emergency numbers (101 and 111)?

A. The police service and the NHS are introducing 101 and 111 respectively to improve the public’s access to their non-emergency services. The public should call 101 when they need to contact the police but do not require an immediate emergency response. Calls to 101 will be answered by police call handlers in the control room of the local police force.

The public should call 111 when they urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. Calls to 111 will be answered by trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses, who will immediately ask you questions to assess your symptoms, give you the healthcare advice you need and direct you to the right local service as quickly as possible.