Ruth Mitchell

Council hotline rescue bid agreed

Plans to maintain a non-emergency phoneline which was cancelled by the government have been approved by two North East councils. Northumbria 101 - which ends on 31 March - responds to non-urgent incidents such as vandalism.

Newcastle and Sunderland local authorities will now create their own version of the 24-hour service. However, the new £180,000 hotline will have to be paid for by the councils, unlike the government-funded 101. It will use the previous service’s call centre and equipment, but will require a new name and number.

John Shipley, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Since the service started in 2006 we have received very positive feedback from users. We feel it is very important therefore to make sure it carries on, as it provides a 24 hour hotline for residents to report any concerns which can then be dealt with promptly by the appropriate council departments.

“We have had to find the money from within our own budgets, but we feel it is very important to do so.”

Operators for the 101 service reportedly deal with about 12,000 reports per month.

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