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Rolling Out the Police Single Non-Emergency Number (101): Research Into the Public's and Practitioners' Views

NCJ Number
Katharine McKenna; Nicola Smith; Jenny Williams; Rachel Gardner
Date Published
October 2012
27 pages
In 2010, the British Government announced its commitment to establish a national non-emergency police number for England and Wales that would provide a single, memorable non-emergency number for contacting the police (101); this study reviewed the extent to which the 101 service was operating as intended in some of the first forces to implement 101.
In addition, the study examined call handling of non-emergency incidents more generally, including public perceptions and expectations of how non-emergency incidents should be handled. Overall, the evidence from this early research indicates the 101 service was operating as intended in the first forces to implement it, and users were largely satisfied. The principal recommendations of this research are to address misapprehensions among the public regarding excessive use of 101. Future public awareness campaigns should emphasize that non-emergency call handling is done at the same level of professionalism as 999 (number for emergency calls), and accurate records are made for all relevant calls made to the police. Campaigns should also clarify and provide examples about circumstances under which non-emergency contact with the police is encouraged. In addition, they should emphasize that calling 101 will put a caller in contact with the local police force. The study conducted interviews with Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers staff responsible for managing the roll out of 101 and members of the staff in each police force implementing 101 service. The interviews were supplemented with focus groups with the public so as to determine wider attitudes toward contacting the police. 4 tables, 2 figures, and 6 references