The PSNI has welcomed the waiving of the charge to call the non-emergency number 101.
The end of the 15p connection charge came following a move by the Home Office.
Chief Inspector Gerard Pollock, from the PSNI’s contact management centre, said the charge had been a barrier for some.
Did you know that in 2019 there were over half a million 101 calls to the Police Service NI, costing over Â£75,000 in connection charges for callers? The good news is the 15p charge has been removed.— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) April 3, 2020
Read more here: https://t.co/1mmEtbsODP pic.twitter.com/YhDK3t3Z55
“The 15p charge has been a barrier for some people in our communities, in particular those who are vulnerable,” he said.
“Unfortunately, on occasion this leads to inappropriate use of the emergency ‘999’ system because callers could not afford the charge. This move means that 101 will be free to access in the same way as 999 is, and I welcome that.”
Mr Pollock said in 2019 there were more than half a million 101 calls to the PSNI costing over £75,000 in connection charges for callers.
“It’s really important we are accessible to our communities and if people need to report non-emergency incidents, they can do so in a way that works for them.”
101 was introduced in 2014 as a single non-emergency number which connects people with their local police service.
Mr Pollock said: “I would remind the public to use 101 to contact a specific officer or member of staff or department, make a general enquiry or report a crime that has already happened, or tell us about crime in your area.
“You should always call 999 when someone’s life is in danger, if a crime is happening now, when someone is injured, when there has been serious damage to property or a serious road traffic collision has occurred.”