The force’s new #NotFor999 campaign aims to educate the public about 999 misuse. By raising awareness of our contact methods and when to use each one, we hope that misuse of the emergency line will reduce, meaning operators will be free to help people with genuine emergency calls.

When to use 999:

999 should always be used in an emergency. A situation is classed as an emergency if it meets any of these criteria:

  • An offence is in progress, or has just happened
  • The situation requires immediate police presence
  • Someone is hurt / in serious danger / harm
  • The offender / offenders are still at the scene
  • The situation is likely to escalate and could cause a disruption to the public
  • Property is likely to get damaged

When to use 101 or our online services:

If a situation requires police attention, but it is not urgent, you should avoid calling 999, and we advise that you call 101 if you do not have access to online services. It should be used to:

  • report minor and non-urgent crimes that are not currently in progress (where immediate or high-priority response is not required),
  • or to offer evidence in an investigation.

When you call 101, we will ask for some initial information from you so your call can be triaged, and passed on to the right person. At busy times, you will have to wait in line for an operator.

If you do have access to online services, you can speak to a specialist operator on live web chat, or you can fill in one of our online report forms. (Online reports can be used to report crime, RTCs, lost / stolen property, missing people, antisocial behaviour, domestic abuse and more).

This way of contacting us is fast and efficient, and can be quicker than waiting on the phone for a 101 operator. If you use online services and we need to contact you to find out more information, a call operator will get in touch with you to do so.

Your report will be assessed and dealt with in the exact same way as a call to 101 – the only difference is the technology used to inform us about the issue / incident.

If you do contact us using our online reports, we ask that you do not get in touch to chase for an update, unless you are providing us with further information about the case.

Ask The Police

Ask The Police is the official police resource for England and Wales. The site can be accessed through our website, and provides Q&As to a wide variety of the general public’s most frequently asked policing questions. If you are ever unsure about whether to contact us or not, you can always consult this website beforehand.

If you would like further information about contacting us, you can learn more in our Contacting the Constabulary Guide.