Calling the police: the use of non-emergency 101 in England and Wales

Graham Brooks, Robert Kevin Golding, Tom Ellis, Chris Lewis

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In England and Wales the police receive more than 67 million calls from the public each year. Many of these calls for ‘assistance’ are often irrelevant, issues of incivility or non-emergency matters of community safety. With public spending cuts pending, it is now time to revisit the need for a single non-emergency number in England as a way to reduce the volume of inappropriate calls to the police. This paper is a review of one local non-emergency number service in England. We therefore start by examining the need and development of a single non-emergency number and the different services that were once available in England and Wales. Following on from this we focus on the details of the research of one region and examine the advantages and disadvantages of such a service. Finally, we conclude and suggest that a single non-emergency number is a worthwhile approach that helps reduce the number of inappropriate calls to the police, increases access to services and reduces fear regarding low-level disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalThe Police Journal
Issue number1
Early online date8 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • single non-emergency
  • police
  • inappropriate calls
  • low-level disorder


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