Emergency calls

In an emergency - dial 999
Police operators are skilled individuals who are trained to use their professional judgement in prioritising work. It is recognised that this can be frustrating for callers but the operators endeavour to deal with all calls as quickly and efficiently as possible. All calls are recorded for training and reference purposes.

An emergency is described as:

  • a threat to life - by another person or by an injury
  • or when there is a need for immediate police action

The Operator will need to be told:

  • who you are, your address and telephone number
  • where the incident is taking place, be as specific as possible
  • what is happening

Standards for 999 calls
We aim to answer:

  • 90% of all emergency calls within 10 seconds
  • if your call requires an immediate police response we will arrive at the scene of 80% of those incidents within 15 minutes.

Emergency Text Service for Deaf People and Speech Impaired People

The emergencySMS service lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard. You will need to register your phone before using this service. You can do so on this  link.

More information is available on  emergencySMS website.

101 – non-emergency number


101 is used for non-emergencies such as:

  • Reporting a non-urgent crime or incident (unless the crime or incident is in progress, when you should dial 999)
  • Contacting local officers
  • Getting crime prevention advice
  • Making us aware of policing issues in your local area
  • Making an appointment with a police officer
  • For any other non-emergency, such as making a complaint 

Key facts

  • 101 does not replace 999
  • Calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long your call lasts.
  • You can also use this website to contact us

999 should be used for an emergency, when a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.

For more information about 101, please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions