Ruth Mitchell

Non-emergency hotline on the ropes

Councils from across the North East are meeting in an attempt to save a non-emergency phone line from closure. Northumbria 101, launched in 2006, deals with non-urgent incidents such as vandalism or abandoned vehicles and is designed to reduce pressure on police operators.

But the Home Office, which piloted the scheme in five UK areas, is withdrawing financial support from March. Unless another source of funding can be found, the service will probably not continue. The Northumbria 101 partnership will meet on 30 January to discuss options for continuing the service.

Since it was rolled out across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, operators have fielded hundreds of calls per day. Staff are on 24-hour standby at all twelve local councils across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear to deal with complaints relating to such incidents as abusive behaviour, broken street lights and fly-tipping.

For more about 101, visit www.101.gov.uk.

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