As latest figures reveal that less than a quarter of 999 calls require an emergency response, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), together with other police forces in the south east launched a new contact number for the public on 11th July.
The new number, 101, is part of a national programme to improve access and will give the public one easy way to get in touch with the police for calls that do not require an urgent response. For example, 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.
Introducing 101 the MPS will be joined by some of our neighbouring police forces including Hertfordshire, City of London and Essex in being early adopters of the new number.
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 at the MPS's Central Communications Command who will help deal with enquiries.
For people who speak no or little English they can also dial 101 where their call will be connected with an interpreter.
Callers who are deaf, deafened or have a hearing or speech impairment can use a textphone to call: 18001 101; or in an emergency it's 18000.
Metropolitan Police Service Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing Ian McPherson, said: "The introduction of 101 is one of the biggest changes in the way people can contact the police since 999 was introduced in the 1940s. "Having just two phone numbers - 101 for reporting a crime that has happened, to get advice or to raise local policing issues - or 999 if it's an emergency, makes calling the Met a lot easier and makes our services more accessible. "It's also expected to reduce the number of inappropriate 999 calls the Met receives, enabling us to respond to genuine emergencies more effectively.