Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Backlash Over Victims Paying 15p To Report Crimes
10 May 2019, 08:29
Calling the 101 police non-emergency could soon be free amid growing pressure to remove the 15p charge.
Vodafone has said pay-as-you-go customers will no longer be charged for calling 101 after backlash over victims of crime being forced to pay to report incidents to police.
The focus on users who do not have a contract is because the mobile service provider said they "tend to be more vulnerable."
The 101 service was introduced in 2006 in order to relieve pressure on the 999 emergency system.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We welcome Vodafone's decision and would encourage other mobile phone operators to follow their lead, whilst we review charges for the 101 non-emergency telephone number."
A spokesman for the mobile provider said: "We have been looking to make improvements for customers.
"It was decided it would be beneficial for pay-as-you-go customers who tend to be more vulnerable to zero-rate the 101 service."
Mobile provider O2 have also said they will review the charge for their users to contact the non-emergency number.
Victims Commissioner Baroness Newlove recommended reviewing the cost of 101 calls to see whether they should be free, like dialling 999.
Figures published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services show that in 2018 there were just over 22 million calls made to the 101 number. But that figure was down by almost 675,000 on the previous 12 months, a fall of three per cent.