Have you heard about the new police contact number, the “101” telephone number for reporting non-emergency crimes? Chances are, if you live in London, the South West or Wales, you already have. Yesterday, it arrived in East Anglia & the Midlands too.
From today I can dial 101 to report crimes, traffic collisions and ‘to help the police with their enquiries’. Now I will only use 999 for emergencies ‘when a crime is in progress, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used.’ Because, obviously I didn’t before, I was on the phone to 999 every day telling them that I’d lost my cat. Oh, wait… no, that wasn’t me – that was one of the other numpties who make up the worrying statistic that up to half of all calls to 999 are ‘false’ ie. not emergencies. They are the little old ladies who want ambulance crews to collect their laundry. They are the chavs who are reporting that they have run out of beer. Yes, these are the kind of nonsense phone calls 999 has been having to deal with.
Therefore, the police have identified the need for a 101 number that connects the public to their local police station when it’s not an emergency. Personally, I have never had too much trouble looking up the phone number of my local police station when needed, but as I said before – this service is for the numpties. And putting a stop to idiots phoning 999 to get help with a leak in their bathroom can only be a good thing. But I can’t help but worry that the stupid-folk will simply clog up the 101 number instead, and next year we’ll see statistics that 90% of all 101 call are ‘false’.
So, is there really a need for this new number? Should it have been introduced years ago? Could lives have already been saved if 101 was launched at the same time that 999 was back in 1937? Tell me what you think.