The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Alison Hernandez, has welcomed yesterday’s announcement from the Government that after a £7 million investment from the Home Office, the general public will not have to pay for 101 non-emergency calls to the Police from today.
However, she urged the public to always consider using online services in the first instance, which are processed in the same way as a call, to ensure the 101 service is not overwhelmed.
Alison Hernandez said: “I welcome yesterday’s announcement, especially at this uncertain time when people are calling in to seek clarification on a range of non-urgent issues relating to Covid-19 and not necessarily crime related. It gives the public the reassurance, especially those of us who may not have been able to physically get or afford credit on their mobile phones that they can call 101 in a non-emergency and not have to worry about the cost.
“However, it is vital that our 101 system is not overwhelmed with calls from the public and I urge them to familiarise themselves with the range of online services available to them such as 101 webchat or the Force’s online crime reporting form – both found on the Force’s website.”
“And there are other options for those of us who do not want to report directly to the police due to fear of reprisals or are apprehensive, such as the confidential and anonymous Crimestoppers and our newly launched 24/7 Victim Webchat and phone line.”
Most members of the public will be able to use the service free of charge from tomorrow. However, from 1 April to 1 July there does remain a small chance that users of small operators will be charged for using the 101 service. The Home Office will be urging those providers to refund their customers.
Members of the public should always call the free 999 service for emergencies.
In a non-emergency, you can report a crime 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 101 webchat or on the online crime reporting form - both on the force website – devon-cornwall.police.uk. There’s also a useful AskNed system that provides online advice on a range of issues and by signing up to Neighbourhood Alert regular updates and information can be received from the OPCC. This can be done via devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk.
Most members of the public will be able to use the service free of charge from tomorrow. However, from 1 April to 1 July there does remain a small chance that users of small operators will be charged for using the 101 service. The Home Office will be urging those providers to refund their customers