999 or 101

Posted: March 14, 2016 in Writing
Tags: , , , ,

There are two telephone numbers associated with contacting the police in the UK.  In an emergency we are told to call 999 and in non-urgent cases to use the 101 number but many face the dilemma of not really understanding what constitutes an emergency or non-emergency.

Warwickshire Police have done a nice job in providing a simple guide explaining when to use which number and to save you searching for their information, I have reproduced it below –

When should I use 999 (or the alternative emergency number 112)?

999 is for reporting emergency situations only; below is a helpful mnemonic to remember when to use it.

P Phone 999 only ifImage result for 101

O Offenders are nearby

L Life is at risk

I Injury is caused or threatened

C Crime or disorder is in progress

E Emergency situations

When should I use 101?

  • if you’ve had a minor traffic collision
  • if your property has been damaged
  • if your car has been stolen
  • if you suspect drug dealing
  • if you’ve witnessed a crime
  • if you have information about criminals in your local area
  • if you’ve seen a missing person
  • if you need crime prevention advice
  • if you want to speak to a local police officer/ your local Safer Neighbourhood Team
  • if you want to speak to the police about any other incident that doesn’t require an immediate response
  • if you want to make us aware of any policing issues in your local area

Now that you know, feel free to pass it on to your friends and family or include it in one of your stories.

You can find more information about the police by following the links in the updated and expanded British Police and Crime Directory for Writers and Researchers 2016, which you can acquire by clicking on the link above or the image below.

BPCD 2016 Cover on Amazon

You can also check out many more facts about policing in 218 Facts a Writer Needs to Know About the Police.

218 Fact Cover


  1. Pete Denton says:

    my skin always crawls when I hear some of the stupid reasons for people dialling 999. I’ve lost my glasses, where’s my nearest Argos.

    Good to have a clear definition to educate people. it’s needed.


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