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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is 101?

101 is the number for you to call to contact the police when it’s less urgent than 999.

101 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. What should 101 be used for?

You should call 101 if you want to talk to your local police officer, get crime prevention advice, or report a crime that does not need an emergency response, for example:

  • if your car has been stolen
  • your property has been damaged
  • you suspect drug use or dealing
  • you want to report a minor traffic collision, or
  • you want to give the police information about crime in your area

3. Why is 101 being introduced?

101 is being launched to improve public access to the police by giving you a single, easy-to-remember phone number, for when it’s less urgent than 999.

4. How does 101 work?

When you call 101, you’ll hear a recorded message announcing that you’re being connected to your local police service centre. 

The system will determine your location and connect you to a call handler in the service centre for your local area. 

This ensures staff with local knowledge answer and deals with your call in a way that best meets your needs and the needs of your community.

If you are calling from the boundary between Scotland and England then you may be offered a choice of force to be connected to.

If the system cannot locate where you are calling from, then you’ll be connected by the operator to the appropriate service centre, where the call will be handled in the normal manner.

Calls to 101 will be prioritised in the same way as calls to existing non-emergency numbers.

5. If I am deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, can I call 101?

If you are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech-impaired then you can access the service via TextRelay on 1 800 1 101.

6. If English isn’t my first language, can I still call 101?

Service centre operators have access to professional interpreters who can quickly translate if you cannot speak, or have difficulty speaking, English.

7. How much does it cost to call 101?

Calls to 101 will cost 15p, no matter how long the call, what time of day it is made or whether it is from a landline or mobile phone.

8. Why is there a charge for calls to 101?

There has always been a cost associated with non-emergency calls. Introducing 101 allows this cost to be standardised across the country and in many cases, the single, flat rate charge of 15p replaces previous higher charges.

The police do not make any money from calls to 101.

9. Does 101 replace existing direct dial numbers? 

If you want to speak to someone specific – for example your community officer – and you have their individual contact details, their direct dial number is still the best number to contact them on.

10. Does 101 replace 999?

No. 101 is the number to use to contact the police in situations that do not need an immediate response.

999 is still the number to call when an immediate response is needed - when a crime is in progress, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when a life is in danger or when violence is being used or threatened.

11. What happens if I call 101 but it is an emergency situation?

If you call 101 and it is deemed to be an emergency, or during the call your situation becomes an emergency, service centre staff are fully trained to deal with all emergency and non-emergency situations.

Always dial 999 when an immediate response is needed - when a crime is in progress, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when a life is in danger or when violence is being used or threatened.

12. Is 101 available outside of Scotland?

Yes, 101 is a national service that is also available across England and Wales.

13. What are the benefits of 101?

  • 101 provides one easy-to-remember number to contact the police anywhere in Scotland
  • For the first time, there will be a single flat rate charge
  • The cost of the call will be transparent to the public and, in many cases, cheaper than current non-emergency numbers
  • 101 can potentially reduce pressure on the 999 system, allowing the police to prioritise the most urgent calls for help.


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