FAQs about 101

What is 101?

101 is the number to call when you want to contact South Yorkshire Police for non-emergency matters – when it is less urgent than 999.

It is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Calls to 101 from landlines or mobile phones cost 15 pence, regardless of the length of time you are on the phone.

Why was 101 introduced?

101 was rolled-out across England and Wales by the Home Office with the support of all 43 police forces. 101:
• Helps communities keep their neighbourhoods safe by giving them one easy way to contact their local police force to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency police response;
• Makes the police more accessible to their communities while reducing pressure on the 999 system and helps them to identify and allocate resources where they are needed the most;
• Assists the police to cut crime by making it easier for the public to pass on information about crimes in their neighbourhoods and allowing the police to take swift action; and
• Over time, will enable partners to join up with the police to provide communities with even easier access to a wider range if local services.

When should I call 101?

When it is less urgent than 999; for general enquiries, to contact local police or to report a crime that has already happened. Crimes and issues such as the following should always be reported by calling 101:
• Stolen car
• Vandalised property
• Suspicion of someone selling stolen goods
• Suspicion of local drug dealing
• Stolen mobile phone
• Minor road traffic collisions

When a life is at risk or there is a crime in progress always call 999.

Should I call 101 to report antisocial behaviour issues?

If you have a problem with any of the below antisocial behaviour issues, contact South Yorkshire Police on 101:

  • Begging
  • Dealing/taking drugs and drinking alcohol in the street
  • Gangs and youths drinking in parks
  • Harassment or intimidation
  • Fly-tipping (happening now)
  • Hate Crime related Graffiti (motivated by prejudice or intolerance towards an individual's nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, identity, sexual orientation or disability)
  • Misuse of fireworks
  • Dangerous, out of control dogs
  • Threatening / violent neighbour disputes
  • Prostitution and indecent behaviour
  • Vandalism
  • Lighting fires
  • Suspicious vehicles
  • Hoax calls to emergency 

If you have a problem with any of the below antisocial behaviour issues, contact your local authority:

  • Abandoned vehicles / parking issues
  • Dead animals
  • Dog fouling
  • Fly posting
  • Dumped, fly-tipped waste (nobody present)
  • Inoffensive Graffiti (non Hate Crime related)
  • Syringes or needles
  • Lost, stray or barking dogs
  • Noise disputes, nuisance or DIY related noise
  • Littering

What will happen when I call 101?

When you call 101 from within South Yorkshire, you will hear an automated message stating that your call is being put through to South Yorkshire Police. If you require South Yorkshire Police, do nothing and your call will be answered by one of our dedicated and specially trained police staff call-handlers.          

All South Yorkshire Police call handlers are trained to deal with both emergency and non-emergency calls. Your call through to 101 will be dealt with by the same person that would deal with your 999 call.

Why should I call 101?

Using 101 for situations that do not require an immediate police response helps to keep 999 available for emergencies. If a crime is taking place, or somebody is in immediate danger, always call 999.

Can I report council issues through 101?

No, please contact your local authority to report council issues.

Where will my call be answered?

Every call to South Yorkshire Police is answered in our dedicated contact management centre in Sheffield.

How much does it cost to call 101?

Calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long the call lasts.

Why are calls to 101 not free of charge like 999?

101 is a service made available to members of the public to be used in situations that do not require an immediate police response. As such, it is appropriate that a contribution is made to the cost of providing this service. The police service has always charged for non-emergency related calls and the national 101 number allows for this cost to be standardised across the country. The Home Office have negotiated a competitive price for this service, and in many force areas the 15 pence per call charge replaces previous higher charges. 101 is not a profit making telephone number.

If people have to pay 15 pence to call 101, will they not just call 999 instead because it is free?

We acknowledge that there will always be a risk that people will use the 999 system inappropriately rather than pay 15 pence to call 101, for example if they do not have enough credit on their mobile phone. We will continue to raise awareness of the consequences of inappropriate use of 999 in order to limit this. Where the 999 system is being abused we will seek to take appropriate action that can include having your phone disconnected.

How many calls does South Yorkshire Police get?

South Yorkshire Police on average receive approximately 1.2 million calls every year.

How many emergency calls does South Yorkshire Police get?

Over 200,000 of the 1.2million calls received every year are emergency 999 calls which require an immediate police response.

How many inappropriate 999 calls does South Yorkshire Police get?

Approximately a third of 999 calls are not genuine emergencies. Some of these are malicious or hoax calls but the vast majority of these are from genuine callers who should have used the non-emergency number.

Are calls to 101 answered by the police?

Yes, all calls to 101are answered by police operators. All calls are recorded for training, development, evidential and public safety reasons.

What happens if you call 101 and are in an emergency situation?

Firstly, your call will be asessed by our switchboard operators - if you are calling regarding an emergency you will be put straight through to one of our call handlers. All of South Yorkshire Police’s call handlers are trained to deal with both emergency and non-emergency calls. If you call 101 to report an incident that requires an emergency response, your call will be graded as an emergency and receive the appropriate response.

Always call 999 in an emergency. For example, this is when you need an immediate response because a crime is happening; someone suspected of a crime is nearby or someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.

Is 101 available outside of South Yorkshire?

Yes, all 43 police forces in England and Wales use 101 as their non-emergency number.
What happens if I want to call South Yorkshire Police and I am in another part of the country?

You can call South Yorkshire Police on the 101 number from anywhere in the UK.

When you call 101 you will hear an automated message stating that your call is being put through to the local force to the location you are calling from.  You will also be given the option to press a button if you do not want this force. You will then be offered the surrounding forces as options, if none of these are South Yorkshire you can speak to an operator who will ask you which force you require. If you state South Yorkshire you will be transferred to a South Yorkshire Police call handler.

Who is pays for 101?

The national 101-telephony infrastructure is funded by the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government. 101 is not a profit making telephone number.

Can I still contact South Yorkshire Police on the previous number, 0114 2202020?

No, as of 1 July 2014, 101 is the only non-emergency number for South Yorkshire Police.

I want to speak to the policing team in my area, what number should I call?

Visit our neighbourhood policing website and enter your postcode. You will then be able see the direct number for your local policing team.