101: the new non-emergency number for Londoners

As latest figures reveal that less than a quarter of 999 calls require an emergency response, the Met has this week launched a new help number.

Residents can dial 101 to get in touch with the police, but they do not require an urgent response.

A Havering police spokesman said: “The public should call 101 to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make us aware of local policing issues.

“As well as calling 101 or 999, the public can use online services to get information or report crime; join virtual neighbourhood ward panels to oversee and influence local policing; visit a police station or front counter 24/7; or approach an officer in the street.”

Neighbouring police forces including Hertfordshire, City of London and Essex, have also launched the number.

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As with 999, calls to 101 in London will be handled 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specially trained officers and staff.

For people who speak no or little English they can also dial 101 where their call will be connected with an interpreter.

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Callers with hearing problems can use a textphone to call: 18001 101; or in an emergency it’s 18000.

According to official figures, in April there were 161,008 recorded 999 calls.

But only 32,941 – 20 per cent - were graded as a genuine emergency.

The remaining 80 per cent would be more appropriate for 101.

The Met’s police service assistant commissioner for territorial policing Ian McPherson, said: “999 should only be used in an emergency, that is when a crime is happening, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby, or where someone is injured, being threatened or in danger. For all other matters the public should call us on 101.”

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