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Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call Costs (Read 76,224 times)
NonGeographicalMan
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Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call Costs
Oct 27th, 2005 at 11:05am
 
Ofcom has just announced that it is to consult on the Home Office's proposal to launch a new 101 phone number for non emergency calls to the emergency services.  In practice this means mainly calls to the Police as one rarely calls either the Fire or Ambulance services on a non emergency basis.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2005/10/nr_20051027

There is consultation on both the actual number to be used (101 is proposed) and also on a proposed flat rate call tariff of 10p per call.

I feel that members of this forum will have plenty to say on this consultation and especially the proposal that this number is not to be either free or charged as per a normal geographic 01 or 02 phone number and thus not to be included in inclusive calling allowances of packages such as BT Option 3, TalkTalk Talk3 etc.

Members of this forum may also wish to ask particularly vigorous questions in their responses to the consultation about what controls are to be imposed on the amount which mobile phone operators can charge for calling 101 and how anyone overseas who needs to call this number (for instance if their home has been burgled while abroad) is to be able to make calls to this service and again at what tariff.

101 must have a memorable geographic alternative for people needing to call from overseas and 101 must be charged the same way as an 01 or 02 number.

Also any of you responding may ask what is the point of this 101 proposal now in the dieing days of conventional PSTN/POTS phone services and surely the Home Office should be concentrating on a single memorable voip contact name for the future.  Also ask in your response to the consultation by what date the emergency services plan to support Voip to Voip calls outside the PSTN network?
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« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2005 at 11:49am by N/A »  
 
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dorf
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #1 - Oct 27th, 2005 at 11:46am
 
They just do not stop do they?

This is another blatant contravention of their own NTNP.

This is another disguised Premium line concept, to help pay for the cost of staff to answer the Police telephones; never mind the fact that we have all paid the taxes to fund the police in the first place!

The real answer is to stop wasting taxpayer's money in escapades like the Iraq disaster, bring the British troops home and stop playing "Remnants of Empire" games all over the world wasting such vast amounts of taxpayer's money. We can no longer afford this nonsense as a Nation if they are to fund running our own country properly with the vast amounts of taxes which they wring out of the British Public.

This more than anything demonstrates absolutely clearly that far from beginning to realise the error of their ways and their total failure to meet their remits under the Telecommunications Acts, Ofcom are set on allowing all  the scams, deceipt, exploitation, rip-offs, rackets and confidence tricks to continue, with no further controls, and worse to allow them to escalate and widen in their scope.

It finally demonstrates to me that unless Parliament calls Ofcom to account or the EU forces their compliance things will continue to get much much worse. That is why I now am totally convinced that any campaigning against these continuing and escalating abuses has to be focussed only and firmly on MPs and MEPs. Otherwise nothing will ever be done to end this continuing deceipt and trickery.
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« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2005 at 11:49am by dorf »  

Ofcom are completely ineffectual
 
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #2 - Oct 27th, 2005 at 11:54am
 
Quote:
It finally demonstrates to me that unless Parliament calls Ofcom to account or the EU forces their compliance things will continue to get much much worse. That is why I now am totally convinced that any campaigning against these continuing and escalating abuses has to be focussed only and firmly on MPs and MEPs. Otherwise nothing will ever be done to end this continuing deceipt and trickery.


Dorf,

The fact that things can only be changed through our MPS and the media, rather than by attempting to change the minds of the telco scam loving bedfellows known as Ofcom, became obvious to me after they published their current morally bankrupt proposals to make 0845 numbers cost more than 0870 numbers for several years just so that their ISP friends did not lose too much money.

The more one sees of Ofcom the more one realises that their CEO Stephen Carter can only see things in commercial terms and is about the most inappropriate person one could possibly think of to be allowed to run a regulatory organisation.
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bbb_uk
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #3 - Oct 27th, 2005 at 1:08pm
 
I belive its unfair to totally blame ofcom as they are only doing what they are asked to by the home office and provide them with a 3 digit number.

Having scanned through the document, it appears that the home office have already consulted on this (glad us consumers were informed of it) and they've already decided on what's what, etc including costs.  All they've done is asked ofcom to provide them with a 3 digit number.

Ofcom have said they are not examining the underlying proposals of the 3 digit number as this was approved and stakeholder views sought by the homeoffice already.  (section 2.5).
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #4 - Oct 27th, 2005 at 1:17pm
 
Quote:
I belive its unfair to totally blame ofcom as they are only doing what they are asked to by the home office and provide them with a 3 digit number.


The old
"I was only following orders"
defence. Shocked

Now where have I heard that before.  I seem to recall that is not a valid excuse in law against doing somthing corrupt, misleading, untruthful or illegal. Roll Eyes

When Ofcom get a request from the Home Office they are supposed to consider its legitimacy in the context of their primary duty to protect the interests of uk citizens and consumers rather than the business interests of uk telcos and call centre operators.
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« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2005 at 1:18pm by N/A »  
 
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bbb_uk
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #5 - Oct 27th, 2005 at 1:32pm
 
Quote:
When Ofcom get a request from the Home Office they are supposed to consider its legitimacy in the context of their primary duty to protect the interests of uk citizens and consumers rather than the business interests of uk telcos and call centre operators.
That maybe true but the main concern is that either the homeoffice and/or PITO have already decided on everything by the looks of things without consulting us.  It is at these gov bodies we need to concentrate on and trying to get hold of the consultation document that ofcom are referring to.

Everything appears to have been already decided and all ofcom are doing is consulting on the 3 digit access number.

This has to be taken up with HomeOffice and/or PITO.

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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #6 - Oct 27th, 2005 at 2:11pm
 
Quote:
Everything appears to have been already decided and all ofcom are doing is consulting on the 3 digit access number.

This has to be taken up with HomeOffice and/or PITO.


Ofcom can lobby and make a fuss if they think PITO and the Home Office are doing the wrong thing.  They could also lobby for these powers to be transferred to them for instance.

As for PITO it has already proven itself a totally incompetent organisation viz the fiasco over the London bombings casualty centre number.  So why should we allow an incomeptent organisation to continue to get it wrong.

There is scope to complain about the call cost and the inappropriateness of the number used in terms of call cost and overeseas access difficulties in this consultation response.

The fact that Ofcom is supine and just accepts everything is because people like Stephen Carter just choose to continue drawing their big pay checks for meekly doing what the government tells it to do and don't seem to posess the zeal for fairness and impartiality that the staff of an important regulator should so obviously have.
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #7 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 2:59pm
 
Doing a google search I managed to find a little more information from this .pdf file.

The .pdf file was found on the Associaton of Police Authorities website but the .pdf file itself is done as a partnership between the HomeOffice and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Having rung the number on the .pdf (homeoffice), I was informed that this is all new and so nothing has been confirmed yet.  They are hoping 10p per call from all networks including mobiles but this is to be confirmed as they are in talks with the different teleco's to sort out the cost.

He did state that all ofcom have been tasked with is providing them with a 3 digit contact number accessible from all teleco's and that 101 is their preferred choice.  Everything else was being dealt with from the group that has been setup to implement this 101 non-emergency police number (details on the .pdf).

Therefore raising objections with ofcom could be useless as they are not dealing with anything other than the 3 digit number.

They have decided on 10p per call so that some of the money will go back into funding it due to the cost involved in implementing it, etc.  Their statistics have found the average call is around 5mins (probably due to queuing, etc) and that most police forces use an 0845 costing 3ppm.  Therefore it would take the call lasting 4mins to benefit.

I did explain to him that some call providers only charge 3p per call to a geographical but I don't think it will make them change their mind because very few people are on Call18866/1899 compared to the larger teleco's and as a lot of police forces use 0845 then the cheapest option would be the 10p per call.

The .pdf did mention something about a public consultation and the guy I spoke with at the homeoffice (using the number mentioned on the .pdf) couldn't really help me much.
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« Last Edit: Oct 28th, 2005 at 3:01pm by bbb_uk »  
 
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #8 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 3:33pm
 
Quote:
Doing a google search I managed to find a little more information from this .
Having rung the number on the .pdf (homeoffice), I was informed that this is all new and so nothing has been confirmed yet.  They are hoping 10p per call from all networks including mobiles but this is to be confirmed as they are in talks with the different teleco's to sort out the cost.

He did state that all ofcom have been tasked with is providing them with a 3 digit contact number accessible from all teleco's and that 101 is their preferred choice.  Everything else was being dealt with from the group that has been setup to implement this 101 non-emergency police number (details on the .pdf).

Therefore raising objections with ofcom could be useless as they are not dealing with anything other than the 3 digit number..


I don't agree with you at all here bbb.

Ofcom could make this an issue they wanted to contest if they felt like it (ever heard of their own initiative investigations).  But in the main they usually feel like doing as little work as possible.  Also any responses to Ofcom consultations are quite widely read so its always worth responding because at least responses to Ofcom are available to the world at large.

Surely you can see that justifying the cost of the 101 number on the existing cost of 0845 calls to the Police is insane when not all Police use such numbers and they shouldn't be using them in the first place! Shocked

Millions of people now have inclusive calling plans with BT, TalkTalk, Tele2 etc and what's the betting the cost of these 101 calls will be excluded.  101 should only be charged the same way as for an 01 or 02 call where of course offpeak you get an hour for 5.5p even with BT.

I can't believe you are prepared to give up so easily over all this.
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joe65
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #9 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 3:50pm
 
The number  1212  still seems to be available, as in "Whitehall 1212" and it has a suitable legacy , as the emergency phone number usedin London just before '999'

"The 999 system came about via the Metropolitan Police in London as they found that their Police Stations were being overrun either by visitors to the station alerting them to emergency situations or trying to phone them in the growing trend of using the new invention, the telephone. Not every one could remember or knew the telephone number of the local Police Station. In November of 1927 the general public in London were advised " if you have an emergency dial 0". When the operators answers ask for the service you require. The Metropolitan Police maintained this service till 1934 then they introduced their Information Room with the famous number of Whitehall 1212. Where all emergency calls ended up. Emergency calls via telephone kept increasing and telephone operators were unable to identify emergency calls from other operator service calls."

& who ever heard of a blind person finding it easy to use digits from opposite ends of the keypad  AND Back Again ???
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« Last Edit: Oct 28th, 2005 at 3:50pm by joe65 »  

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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #10 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 4:01pm
 
199 would have seemed more appropriate and even then only if the calls are going to be charged at full geographic rates as per an 01 or 02 call.
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bbb_uk
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #11 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 5:15pm
 
Quote:
...I can't believe you are prepared to give up so easily over all this.
I'm looking at it objectively.  I'm no fan of ofcom at all but ofcom can't be blamed for something that they never had any input on at all and are only now being consulted due to homeoffice needing a 3 digit number available from all networks.

What's the point in blaming ofcom for something that the HomeOffice and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have together started and are dealing with themselves.

All ofcom have been asked to do is provide a 3 digit number.

To make a point and to try and change things then it will have to be done via the consultation that HomeOffice have done or are doing.

Objecting via ofcom isn't likely to get anywhere simply because all ofcom will do is pass your concerns on to the homeoffice when ofcom's consultation is done.  By this time it is very likely that it will be too late and homeoffice will have made their minds up on whatever they plan on doing/charging, etc.

You have to go straight to the dept concerned (homeoffice) instead of going through a middleman (ofcom).

You have a point about people on inclusive calling plans but very few (in the vast scheme of things) are on a 24/7 plan.  Those on an inclusive calling plan are generally only the weekend because most call providers have free inclusive minutes at the weekend (with the exception of BT) included in the basic line rental, with a few more on an evening & weekend inclusive minutes plan.

This along with international access has to be taken up direct with those concerned if you hope to make them change their minds before everything has been finalised.  Going via ofcom will just delay your concerns getting to the homeoffice by a few months at least (due to length of consultation by ofcom).

Give the number a ring that's on the .pdf and see if you can get something out of them about the consultation that they have or are doing.

If the consultation is already out there then where is it?  I did a google search of the homeoffice website for this SNEN and it wasn't much help.

Therefore if this consultation is still open then which department has released it or have they conveniently hidden it away and it will all be decided upon without much public consultation (which I think is the norm with the government these days).
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #12 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 9:09pm
 
And there is a European policy to explore the use of 116, just as 112 is available across Europe and on mobiles...
Now that would be a benefit if one could dial 116XX anywhere, but the UK appears to be going elsewhere - again Sad
URLs to follow when I am back at a stable PC.
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #13 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 10:00pm
 
Quote:
And there is a European policy to explore the use of 116, just as 112 is available across Europe and on mobiles...
Now that would be a benefit if one could dial 116XX anywhere, but the UK appears to be going elsewhere - again Sad
URLs to follow when I am back at a stable PC.


I bet the proposal in the rest of Europe is for 116 to be a free call.

Only in ripoff Britain would they attempt to create a special non standard tariff to line the pockets of the police who will not pay for the cost out of the already huge amounts they rake in from us via the Counil Tax.  Also they hope to transfer the same benefits of free phone call equipment and phone lines with which the telcos have obviously bribed them in connection with their current 0845 non emergency numbers.

And I dread to think how much 101 will cost from a BT Payphone or a mobile.  And Ofcom will just be resting on its hands once again rather than expressing outrage in the media that the Home Office could be doing such a thing.
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dorf
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Re: Ofcom Consults on 101 Police Number & Call
Reply #14 - Oct 28th, 2005 at 10:04pm
 
I think some of you are really missing the point here.

The rest of Europe may be standardising on a different number grouping, but that is not the issue, and that is not particularly significant, although it would clearly be better to have an EU-wide standard.

There are in reality only two issues here.

1) Does the grouping selected conform to the NTNP originally delineated by the regulators. NO!

2) What is the evident and real purpose of this gambit: this is indicated by the announced call rate per minute - even more than current 0870! The real reason for this gambit is so that the police can have call centres with illegal queuing on what will be yet another form of Disguised Premium number at 10 p per minute, to make revenue so that the calling public pay for the cost of the police answering the telephone, although they have supposedly already paid for the police in their taxes already.

In other words the whole thing is yet another extension of the current abuses, rip-offs and extortion, and a further digression from the NTNP, one of the key purposes of which was supposed to have been that the public would thenceforth would be able to discern clearly which numbers were Premium numbers.

The real base of this is again to deceive the public, in attempting to conceal that this in reality will be another scam Premium number! Is the Europe use of 116 or 112 at a similar Premium rate charge relative to ordinary calls? I doubt it.
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« Last Edit: Oct 28th, 2005 at 10:08pm by dorf »  

Ofcom are completely ineffectual
 
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