Police phone number may cost us more

PEOPLE calling the new Humberside Police non-emergency number may pay extra for the privilege.

At the start of November, the force introduced the new 101 telephone number for Bridlington residents to contact police with non-emergency queries - charged at a flat rate of 15p, regardless of the length or time of the call.

It replaced the old number, which began with an 0845 prefix - which on many landline phone tarriffs are free.

One Bridlington resident who noticed the change was Peter Jordan, who received an email from BT when he called 101 notifying him that he had been charged 15p outside his call plan.

Calls to the 0845 number previously were free for Mr Jordan.

“If you are a BT customer you will probably be paying more with the new number,” said Mr Jordan.

“I know it is only 15p, but it is the principle of it. If you use the number regularly then it soon adds up, especially if it is a charge you weren’t aware of. I’d like to know where the money is going.”

Many BT customers would usually be able to call 0845 numbers for free with most common call plans, but can cost up to 2p per minute for some customers.

For those in Bridlington with a Talk Talk landline, TalkTalk Plus customers get free calls at any time to UK landlines which also includes 0845 numbers.

For TalkTalk Essentials customers, 0845 numbers are free on evenings and weekends and outside of that calls to 0845 numbers are charged at 7.6p a minute.

Sky customers however, would usually pay up to or more than 15p for a call to the old 0845 number.

They offer no deal that would see free calls to the number, and charge an 8p connection charge, and then 4.95p per minute for a daytime call, 2.48p per minute for an evening call and 2p per minute at weekends.Costs from mobiles can be higher still.

In January this year all 43 Chief Constables nationally agreed to adopt 101 as the new police non-emergency number.

Humberside Police launched the new number alongside Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Nottinghamshire in November, with North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire set to follow next month.

The Humberside force told the Free Press that they had no control over the pricing strucure of the new number, which is set nationally by the Home Office.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The introduction of the ‘101’ number across England and Wales marks a significant step forward in our ambition to reconnect the police and public - giving people an easy and memorable number to call their local police force will improve reporting of crime and help the police to efficiently and effectively tackle crime and disorder.

“For the first time ever, everyone calling the police for non-emergency matters will know exactly how much it will cost them and will be assured of equal access whether they are on a pay-as-you-go mobile or a home landline.

“The 15p per call charge is a competitive and transparent rate, especially when compared to other police non-emergency numbers, such as 0845 numbers which can cost the public up to 40 pence per minute from mobile phones.”