Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones welcomed the Home Office’s decision to scrap the 15p charge to make 101 non-emergency phone calls.
The Home Office announced it will scrap the charge and spend £5 million a year to fund the phone service in the UK. The move will make the number free for the public from April 2020.
The 101 service was introduced in December 2011 to free up calls to 999. Callers to the 101 number are currently connected to their local police force, or one of their choice, and charged 15p a time.
Lincolnshire Police receives around 250,000 101 calls a year – more than 670 a day. The removal of the charges equates to a £37,500 saving for the residents of Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire’s PCC Marc Jones previously raised at national level to get the charges dropped.
He said: “This is really positive news. Reporting crime, passing on vital information or highlighting abuse shouldn’t cost the caller 15p.
“Victims of domestic abuse sometimes have their finances and activities controlled or closely monitored by their abuser and knowing this charge can show up on bills can be a barrier to them getting in touch when they most need help.
“This move is good for victims and good for the people of Lincolnshire.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Scrapping the charge for making a 101 call will benefit millions of people every year – especially the vulnerable.”
In addition to making 101 calls free, the Home Office is funding police forces to create a new website. The website will allow the public to be able to contact the police and report crimes online.
The Single Online Home (SOH) is being launched in full in the summer to reflect changes in how the public are interacting with police.
Lincolnshire Police’s Force Control room based at the HQ in Nettleham deals with high volumes of calls on a day-to-day basis.