New 101 number for non-emergencies misses the mark

Yet another non-lateral thinking Government project (DW 13 April) – the introduction of the number 101 as a non-emergency number seems like a missed opportunity that will fail to provide the required solution.

According to Design Week, 70 per cent of all 999 calls are inappropriate (probably aided by mobile phones, stuffed in bags, accidentally dialing 999).

Surely a more effective campaign would be to accept that everyone knows 999 as the number to call (and many will continue to do so for ‘minor’ emergencies). Make 999 the general number for all services and local issues, then brand 101 as the number for ‘serious’ emergencies.

One of the reasons the Government chose 101 was because it is much harder to misdial – so surely you want that number as the one for operators who can not have their time wasted by 70 per cent of inappropriateness?

The logical course of the Government solution is that 999 will still receive inappropriate calls – something I believe could have been avoided.

Benn Achilleas, Director, Neoco, London WC2E

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