Police 101 phone line could be stopped at night

Police forces are considering halting the 101 phone line service through the night, a National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) spokesman has said.

A letter sent to Policing Minister Nick Hurd by chief constables revealed they are reviewing the non-emergency police line and will be discussing whether the service should operate round the clock, the spokesman confirmed.

The NPCC’s ambition is for the “same consistency” of the 999 and 101 services to be offered digitally, he said, adding both phone lines need to “evolve” amid pressures on police resources.

The spokesman said: “999 and 101 are national services used by millions every year.

“Our ambition is to offer that same consistency in digital contact to better reflect changing public preferences.

“Whilst we aim to maintain an effective traditional 999 and 101 offer to the public, this will also need to evolve alongside the wider public contact and engagement offer to ensure quality, consistency and sustainability.”

Funding pressures on police forces mean chief constables are having to prioritise their resources, he said, adding: “There are 44,000 fewer officers and staff involved in policing than there were in 2010.

“Resource within policing is under pressure as forces deal with rising crime, demand that is more complex, and an unprecedented terror threat with fewer officers and staff.

“It is for individual chief constables to manage response from within their force and some have already made it clear that police can only prioritise their resources against the greatest harm.”

Home Office crime figures released last month show a 14% rise in homicides in the last year to September, while violent crimes were up by 19% for the same period.

The NPCC spokesman added: “Chief constables make decisions about how they prioritise their resources, always assessing threat, risk and harm.

“We are working with colleagues and partners to address the increasing demand on policing, as officers often find themselves tied up dealing with issues which often fall out of the policing remit.”