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Main Forum >> Government and Public Sector >> Lincolnshire Police Using 0871 !!
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Message started by bigjohn on Jul 19th, 2015 at 5:12am

Title: Lincolnshire Police Using 0871 !!
Post by bigjohn on Jul 19th, 2015 at 5:12am
I was surprised to see Lincolnshire Police using a 0871 number for people to find out more information about incidents.

From what i can see they dont seem to ever have mentioned the cost of calling it .Let alone observing the new guidelines and saying a stonking 13p a minute service charge applies plus  suppliers access charge.
http://www.lincs.police.uk/News-Centre/News-Releases-2015/Man-Assaulted-in-Lincoln.html


Also as a Public Body they appear to breach Govt Guidelines.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmg-guidance-for-customer-service-lines


Title: Re: Lincolnshire Police Using 0871 !!
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 19th, 2015 at 9:25am

bigjohn wrote on Jul 19th, 2015 at 5:12am:
I was surprised to see Lincolnshire Police using a 0871 number for people to find out more information about incidents.

From what i can see they dont seem to ever have mentioned the cost of calling it .Let alone observing the new guidelines and saying a stonking 13p a minute service charge applies plus  suppliers access charge.

Also as a Public Body they appear to breach Govt Guidelines.

From my reading of the news release, and further research, it seems that this "Voicebank" facility is used by many public bodies to provide journalists with access to updates on news releases.

If, as may be the case, use of a 0871 number means that the service is paid for only by those who use it, rather than being a cost to the Council Tax-payer, it could be well argued that this is a perfectly fair way of providing news media with this facility.

In principle, services to business users are not covered by the provisions of the "Clear Call Rates for Everyone" regulations, because telcos are not required to bill business lines using the "unbundled tariff" - although it seems that many have chosen to do so. Even if the Phonepay Plus code does not apply, one would however think it good practice for the level of the Service Charge to be declared.

The Cabinet Office Guidance is only mandatory for central government departments and it does include provision for the possibility of use of Premium Rate (and 084) numbers in cases where a charge on the caller can be justified.

The news release advises that 101 is the number for public non-emergency calls to Lincolnshire Police. Unfortunately the "Calling the Police" page of its website fails to give the alternative number (01522 532222) for those who can call this more cheaply, and would rather avoid paying the standard charge of 15p per call.


Whilst two useful pieces of information are not provided where they should be, I do not think it unfair that Lincolnshire Police has perhaps taken advantage of a convenient opportunity for an additional service to journalists to be funded only by those who use it.

If anyone can find a case where this number is given in the context of information to the public (as opposed to information for distribution through the media) then I will be happy to think again.

Title: Re: Lincolnshire Police Using 0871 !!
Post by bigjohn on Jul 19th, 2015 at 10:05am
As you are aware people use google to search for info.

EG Mr Joe Public heres about a stabbing in Boston Lincs . He wants to find out more. He googles stabbing , Boston, Lincs.

This is one of the links that comes up. He reads it because its straight from the horses mouth as it were.

http://www.lincs.police.uk/News-Centre/News-Releases-2015/Man-Stabbed-in-Boston.html

Nowhere does it say the 0871 number is only for media use. He calls the number.

Title: Re: Lincolnshire Police Using 0871 !!
Post by SilentCallsVictim on Jul 19th, 2015 at 10:56am

bigjohn wrote on Jul 19th, 2015 at 10:05am:
As you are aware people use google to search for info.

Nowhere does it say the 0871 number is only for media use. He calls the number.

Fair point.

If someone is inclined to use the full content of a published news release as if it were intended as public information, then it is perhaps difficult to say who is at fault - that person?, the publisher?, Google?

It is common for news releases to separate out the content of the release itself, by giving further information under the heading "Notes for Editors". Perhaps that approach could be commended to Lincolnshire Police, if there is a serious danger of misunderstanding.

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