Survey discovers confusion surrounding non-emergency police number

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8th December 2015 11:16 - Public Consultation

A recent survey by a Yorkshire Crime Commissioner has discovered that there is some confusion amongst the public surrounding Survey discovers confusion surrounding non-emergency police numbernon-emergency police numbers, with less than one third knowing that a non-emergency phone call to the police can be made by dialling 101.

The survey was commissioned by Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Crime Commissioner, in response to national and local concerns about the non-emergency dialling system.

The survey revealed that many individuals confuse 101 with other three digit emergency services numbers, such as 999 and 111, the non-emergency health number.

Across the country, 12 per cent of the participants said that they believe the non-emergency number is 911, which is actually the emergency services number in America. Some senior police officers from North Yorkshire Police attributed this to the increasing popularity with American crime programmes.

Just 30 per cent of participants from England and Wales knew the right non-emergency number and knew which circumstances it should be used in. North Yorkshire’s percentage was higher than the national average, at 38 per cent.

The survey findings also revealed that one in seven people who rang North Yorkshire’s 101 service aborted their call. Of respondents, 10 per cent said that they waited for more than one minute for their call to be answered.

The figure for the aborted calls in North Yorkshire was found to be twice as high as the police’s national target of 5 per cent.

Mulligan said of the research findings:

“The 101 number was introduced to help people report incidents to their local force easily and to reduce pressure on the 999 emergency line. So three years after its launch, it’s worrying that awareness of the number is so low.

“However, with the Home Office reviewing the service, these new insights couldn’t have come at a better time and will hopefully highlight the need to raise awareness of the number and understanding of when to use it.”

She added: “Another major worry is that one in seven people ringing the 101 abandon their call. Locally, that’s around 2,800 calls per month – most likely due to the time it takes for their call to be answered.”

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