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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 August 2007, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Line 101 fails to cut 999 calls
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The number allows residents to report community problems directly
The number of 999 calls to Northumbria Police remains relatively unchanged despite the introduction of a non-emergency line over a year ago.

The 101 hotline, run by a partnership of local councils, deals with less urgent incidents and is designed to reduce pressure on police operators.

But a monthly average of about 12,000 "101 calls" has not been reflected with a dip in the number of emergency calls.

Northumbria Police said the figures were still being evaluated.

The 101 system was introduced in July 2006 to allow residents to report community problems directly to the responsible authorities, rather than via police call centres.

The important thing to us is the appropriateness of calls to 999, 101 and other public service telephone numbers
Peter Coates, Northumbria 101 Operations Manager

Staff are on 24-hour standby at all twelve local councils across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear to deal with complaints relating to anti-social behaviour, vandalism and fly-tipping, among others.

But six months after the system was introduced, Northumbria Police reported 11,000 more 999 calls compared to the previous year.

The force said this figure may have been disproportionately high because of the World Cup.

However, since January 2007, emergency calls have remained at the same level - about 22,000 per month.

A police spokesman said: "It was the intention that the number of 999 calls would reduce as a result of the 101 system being introduced.

"However, the experience in Northumbria suggests this has not been the case."

But the Northumbria 101 Partnership said the reduction of 999 calls is not a primary objective.

Operations Manager Peter Coates said: "The important thing to us is the appropriateness of calls to 999, 101 and other public service telephone numbers."




SEE ALSO
New number to ease 999 pressure
02 Jul 06 |  England
Force launches new 101 crime line
11 May 06 |  Hampshire

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