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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
New number to ease 999 pressure
A non-emergency number aimed at easing pressure on the 999 system comes into existence on Monday.

The 101 number is being piloted by Northumbria Police, in partnership with all 12 local councils across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

People can now dial 101 for advice, information and action on problems such as vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.

The region is one of only five areas in the UK trying out the system.

There will be a maximum charge of 10p per call, regardless of how long it takes, and the service will be available around the clock.

Email and text

It will involve existing contact centres and staff to deliver the service from three separate centres in Sunderland, Newcastle and Police HQ in Ponteland.

The service will be able to deal with calls from people with other languages and may expand in the future to include email and text contact.

Peter Coates, project manager, said: "Callers will talk to a local person, in a local contact centre who is specially trained to deal with their 101 enquiry, quickly and effectively."

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant said: "It should be made clear that this new service will not replace 999 and we do not expect people to make a decision on whether an incident that relates to a 101 service is an emergency or not.

"If people ring 101 when a more urgent response is needed, the call handlers can put them straight through to the 999 service."

Force launches new 101 crime line
11 May 06 |  Hampshire

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