A NEW phone service designed to take the pressure off 999 services has been launched today (Wednesday).
People living in Wales can now call the police on 101 if they want to speak to an officer, but their problem is not an emergency.
Organisers say the calls will be answered by dedicated call handlers working in the same force area as the calls are made.
It will run alongside 999 and is not intended to replace it.
Andrew Edwards, deputy chief constable for collaboration in Wales said: “It has taken a lot of hard work and effort to ensure this project has worked, but each force has pulled out all the stops to make sure it happens.”
Deputy chief constable Clive Wolfendale added: “We think it is a step towards making our services more accessible for our residents and visitors. It is an easy number to remember, it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.”
Calls will cost 10p from both land lines and mobiles.
People are still advised to call 999 if violence is being used or threatened, there is danger to life, a crime is in progress or offenders carrying out a crime have recently been disturbed, and if there has been a road accident where people are injured, or there has been a non-injury accident where traffic is affected.
A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said: “Out of the 110,000 calls made to 999 for the North Wales Police, only 39% of them require an emergency response. This means that 999 call handlers are dealing with 61% of non emergencies. The 101 number will take the strain off the emergency call handlers and enable them to dispatch a response to the emergency calls quicker.”