POLICE are praising the impact a new non-emergency hotline is having on the number of callouts.
The new 101 number is being used by Northumbria and Durham police forces, as well others around the country, for people to report crimes which don’t need an urgent response.
Forces across England and Wales have fielded more than 2.5million calls to the number.
The use of the new line was designed to ease the pressure on the 999 emergency number, with just a quarter of 999 calls needing an emergency visit from police.
Police say that those living in the Northumbria Police force area will be reminded of the 101 number over the coming months.
Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Laura Young said: “This simple number gives people one easy way to contact their local officers and to report crime and disorder that doesn’t require an emergency response.
“It will make us more accessible to our communities while reducing pressure on the 999 system, meaning every caller receives the best possible service.”
Nick Herbert, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, said: “The introduction of the 101 number marks one of the most significant changes in the way people contact the police since 999 was introduced nearly 70 years ago.
“The public now have an easier way to contact their local police force with a memorable number for non-emergencies.
“Previous plans for a national non-emergency number never materialised, but this Government has delivered a practical scheme.
“Together with street level crime mapping and the election of Police and Crime Commissioners, 101 marks another step forward in our ambition to strengthen the connection between the police and public, and cut crime.”
Members of the public should still call 999 in an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.
Commander Ian Dyson, ACPO lead on contact management, said: “Having just two phone numbers – 101 for reporting a crime that has happened, to get advice or to raise local policing issues – or 999 if it’s an emergency, makes calling the police a lot easier and makes our services more accessible.
“It’s also expected to reduce the number of inappropriate 999 calls the service receives, enabling us to respond to genuine emergencies more effectively.”
The 101 line costs 15p per call from both mobiles and landlines, no matter how long the call duration is.