Don’t dial 999 for non-emergencies in Cambs - call 101

TWO new telephone numbers are being introduced in Cambridgeshire in a bid to stop 150,000 calls unnecessarily blocking the 999 emergency lines each year.

From next month Cambridgeshire police will begin using the easy-to-remember 101 number and, by April 2013, NHS Cambridgeshire will introduce its new three digit telephone number – 111.

Both numbers will be suitable for calls involving non-life threatening incidents.

A police spokesman said: “The number change is part of a national scheme to make 101 the single non-emergency number in England and Wales. The change is being introduced so residents will have one easy-to-remember way to contact local police wherever they are.

“The new number should also reduce the number of non-emergency calls coming through to the 999 control room.”

The split between the two police numbers is summed up by saying that someone witnessing a crime or a violent attack should still ring 999, while 101 will be used for reporting incidents including burglary and car theft.

A total of 125,840 calls were made to the county’s 999 number in 2010-11, answered in the force control room at police headquarters in Huntingdon. The non-emergency calls on its 0345 456 4564 number, which will continue for the next 12 months to allow people time to get used to 101, are answered at the force’s police service centre in Peterborough and will use a new automated phone system.

Most Read

Following successful pilot projects in other parts of the country, NHS Cambridgeshire is introducing a 111 non-emergency number next year. This will relieve some of the pressure on the East of England Ambulance Service’s 999 call centre. A total of 74,887 emergency 999 calls were made from Cambridgeshire to the ambulance service during the 2010-11 financial year. Just over a third – 27,568 – were classified as life-threatening situations.

The 111 number will be staffed by a team of advisors supported by nurses who will direct callers to the most appropriate person. The 24/7 service will eventually replace NHS Direct.

Spokesman for NHS Cambridgeshire Lorraine Rollo said: “It is a national requirement that all NHS areas have a 111 number operational by April 2013 and we are working to this deadline in Cambridgeshire.”