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Police introduce charges for non-emergency calls (Read 389,685 times)
sherbert
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #30 - Sep 28th, 2007 at 9:01am
 
A letter in today's Daily Telegraph.....

Have you noticed that the utilities – water, electricity, etc – send out over-inflated estimated bills?

As a customer you are rightly indignant and ring up on the premium 0845 rate informing the company that it is wrong, and in doing so find yourself paying to correct its mistake, caused by the company's having saved itself money by not employing meter readers. If such a company wants us to read the meter, surely it should be an 0800 number.

Recently, I saw a yellow police sign asking for witnesses to call on an 0845 number. If the police want help, surely they, too, should give an 0800 line
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farci
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #31 - Sep 28th, 2007 at 11:57am
 
ms01 wrote on Sep 27th, 2007 at 8:22pm:
This on the BBC today:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7015674.stm
Quote:
The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) has been trying to establish a national non-emergency hotline and recently agreed a sequence of 0845 numbers for each force.


Makes you despair, eh? Perhaps if enough people complain they will never implement the numbers that they have "recently agreed".

I emailed ACPOS earlier - still no reply.

MS


Here is the gist of my latest mail to ACPOS/Bill Aitken - maybe other members can write to ACPO/MPs or ACPOS/MSPs again?:

I wrote yesterday with views on how to deal with non-emergency calls, indicating that solutions other than the proposed '0845' range could be used.

Here is a reply the group 'SayNoto0870.com' received from the FCO on why they chose a normal geographical number rather than an NTS number like 0845. It makes interesting reading and shows the public can benefit from lower telephone costs while the called party can still achieve efficient call handling.

There is one small error in the FCO response. Under para 2 they state incorrectly:
'..Calls to London numbers can potentially vary in cost by being local or national (geography) and by time and day of call..'
in that there is no longer any cost difference between local and national calls.

Apart from this error the main argument for rejecting NTS is sound:

'...However, it is often perceived by the public  that any local or national rate calls have a premium applied resulting in some form of profit for the FCO....  However, local rate numbers would generally apply a slightly higher tariff across the board....'

I would appreciate your views.


Then cut and pasted the FCO reply:
http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1189971086
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ms01
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #32 - Oct 1st, 2007 at 6:43pm
 
Here's the letter I sent to Metro last week, which appeared pretty much unedited in this morning's paper.
Quote:
Regarding ACPOS desire to introduce an 0845 number as alternative to
999 for non-emergencies. Are they mad? Or just looking to squeeze more
cash out of us? 084 numbers (like 087) are a complete rip off - they
cost more than normal 01 or 02 numbers and aren't included in mobile
free minutes, so can cost up to 35p a minute to call - I'm sure that
will really put people off calling 999! A new code "03" has just been
made available which must be charged in the same way as normal calls,
but can be routed to call centres like 0845 - surely a much better
choice. Unfortunately Ofcom have done zero to make the British public
aware of this.

PC101, Edinburgh.


I appreciate some of it is a bit generalised, but I think the gist of it was appropriate for Metro!

MS.
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kk
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #33 - Oct 1st, 2007 at 6:58pm
 
An excellent letter - short and to the point.  Try sending it to other papers.
A useful list can be found here:   http://www.thebigproject.co.uk/news/
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farci
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #34 - Oct 1st, 2007 at 10:52pm
 

This is a good idea but to squeeze from both ends it would be useful to lobby the Police Boards as well. I just wrote to Strathclyde maybe others could lobby their own police authorities?
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« Last Edit: Nov 17th, 2007 at 8:09pm by DaveM »  
 
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Re: ...MEANWHILE IN SCOTLAND...
Reply #35 - Oct 2nd, 2007 at 2:53pm
 
farci wrote on Sep 27th, 2007 at 10:02am:
Dear Mr Aitken,

You are quoted in THE HERALD today as supporting the idea of a police non-emergency number.

Mr Aitken clearly knows nothing about telecoms:

Quote:
Bill Aitken MSP, the Tories' justice spokesman, agreed with Acpos. He said: "One option to consider is the creation of a national non-emergency phone number, such as 888. The call could be received at a central point and a message sent to the local divisional police office."


Local numbers begin 888, so you can't have another 'short number' like that.  Roll Eyes

I was going to say quote Recommendation 29 of Sir David Varney's review of public services, but since devolution, I suppose that doesn't hold any weight and there would have to be another similar review conducted in Scotland.  Roll Eyes

Or does it?  Undecided

Quote:
On 'contact centres': 29 improving immediate access to public service departments and agencies and then to
rationalise telephone numbers by: - coordinating the implementation of a public sector wide number strategy utilising the new 0300 number range, to simplify access and tariffs for citizens and businesses to all departments and local authorities; ...


The COI's publication "Better practice guidance for government contact centres" 2nd edition advises that 0845 "may be seen as a barrier to some individuals and migration should be considered."
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« Last Edit: Oct 2nd, 2007 at 3:09pm by Dave »  
 
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farci
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Re: ...MEANWHILE IN SCOTLAND...
Reply #36 - Oct 2nd, 2007 at 3:42pm
 

The Scottish justice system was always separate, even before devolution - but we're always keen to learn from the old colonial master Grin

I'll pass it on as a way of stirring the pot... What Scotland does today...
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« Last Edit: Nov 17th, 2007 at 8:11pm by DaveM »  
 
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Re: ...MEANWHILE IN SCOTLAND...
Reply #37 - Oct 2nd, 2007 at 3:49pm
 
farci wrote on Oct 2nd, 2007 at 3:42pm:
I'll pass it on as a way of stirring the pot... What Scotland does today...

Links to all these here:

http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?num=1168385546
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farci
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Endorsement from MSP!
Reply #38 - Oct 3rd, 2007 at 11:18am
 
Bill Aitken, Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee mailed me today concerning ACPOS proposal to move to 0845 for non-emergency numbers:

Dear Mr Farci

Thank you for the correspondence which is interesting.

Clearly, I do not have the technical knowledge to comment definitively but it does seem to me that it is not beyond the wit of those who deal with such matters to allow for the cost aspects.  We certainly do not wish to deter people from phoning non emergency numbers on the grounds of expense.

Yours sincerely

Bill Aitken


Nothing yet from ACPOS Huh
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Dave
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Northumbria Police jumps on the 0845 bandwagon
Reply #39 - Oct 30th, 2007 at 9:55pm
 
The latest police force to change to 0845 is Northumbria Police. It changed in January or February of this year and a Google of its website reveals a press release dated 26/06/07 which makes mention of a "single low call rate" 0845 number. For some reason this release is no longer available on the NP website's news page.

Fortunately, Google has cached it, but I can't link directly to it. See here for the page:

Quote:
Still open for business - changes to enquiry office opening times
Local services always available

26/06/2007

Opening times at some police station enquiry offices in Northumbria are set to change this week.

Enquiry offices are just one of the ways in which members of the public can report incidents or request advice and information from the police.

The changes, part of a series of measures brought in to develop the way in which services are provided to local communities, have been phased in over several months.

Other measures include the introduction of a single low call rate 08456 043 043 number for routine contact, better call handling systems including a centralised helpdesk and easier access to contact information on the force website.

The changes are being introduced following a survey which showed some enquiry offices had as few as one caller a day.
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« Last Edit: Oct 30th, 2007 at 10:11pm by Dave »  
 
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Keith
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #40 - Oct 31st, 2007 at 9:23am
 
What possible reason could they have for mot moving to an 03 number?
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Re: Police introduce charges for non-emergency cal
Reply #41 - Oct 31st, 2007 at 10:15pm
 
Incompetence and greed?
Sorry, that offers two reasons.
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« Last Edit: Nov 17th, 2007 at 8:15pm by DaveM »  
 
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Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary - "local rate"
Reply #42 - Nov 1st, 2007 at 3:34pm
 
And another one which changed is Dumfries & Galloway.

Quote:
Non-Emergency - Dial 0845 600 5701

By Friday of this week (Friday 1 June) the only police non-emergency telephone number available to the people of Dumfries and Galloway will be 0845 600 5701.

Over the past six months all the force's local office telephone numbers have been phased out. Anyone dialling the discontinued numbers now will not be charged for the call and will hear a recorded message advising them to hang up and dial 0845 600 5701.

This recorded message will remain in place until the Saturday 30 June when the old station numbers will be disconnected completely.

The single contact number for non emergency calls has been in use since November alongside the other numbers. Callers can use the new all-embracing number from anywhere in Dumfries and Galloway, with the cost of calls charged at local rate. The new number will remain to be a 24 / 7 service.

Members of the public must now begin to use the 0845 600 5701 number as it will be the only way to contact local police in a non-emergency.

[...]

2007/GW 0341 29.05.07

Press release prepared in accordance with Lord Advocate's Guidelines.

Source: http://www.dumfriesandgalloway.police.uk/news/05_may/07_0341.htm
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« Last Edit: Nov 1st, 2007 at 3:35pm by Dave »  
 
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Counting cost of police calls
Reply #43 - Nov 2nd, 2007 at 12:30am
 
http://www.hertsad.co.uk/content/herts/news/story.aspx?brand=HADOnline&category=...

01 November 2007
EDITORIAL - herts.advertiser@archant.co.uk

<<
CALLERS to the police who ring the non-emergency 0845 telephone number could find themselves out of pocket.

Herts Police recommends callers to use their non-emergency number 0845 3300 222 if they are not dialling 999 in an emergency.

But even though the police website claims that 0845 numbers from a landline are charged at a local rate wherever people call from, Central Office of Information guidelines maintain that is not always the case.

In its document Better Practice Guidance for Government Contact Centres it says that 0844 and 0845 numbers can be charged at up to 5p a minute from BT lines and should never be referred to as "local rate" in any publicity.

Dave Lindsay, a spokesman for the "Say No to 0870" campaign website, points out that only a tiny minority of BT's customers are on a "non-discounted" package entitling them to pay around the same for a an 0845 number as they would pay for a local geographical call.

A Herts Police spokesperson said they were looking into whether they had the most cost-effective system with the existing 0845 number or should look at switching to an 03 number.

And Chief Supt Steve Ottaway, head of operation support, said they were committed to providing a single number which would be easy for people to remember and which they could use without being financially penalised.
>>
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As from November 21, 2013, I no longer participate in the forum and am unable to receive private messages.
 
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Re: Counting cost of police calls
Reply #44 - Nov 2nd, 2007 at 3:13pm
 
idb wrote on Nov 2nd, 2007 at 12:30am:
CALLERS to the police who ring the non-emergency 0845 telephone number could find themselves out of pocket.

Herts Police recommends callers to use their non-emergency number 0845 3300 222 if they are not dialling 999 in an emergency.

But even though the police website claims that 0845 numbers from a landline are charged at a local rate wherever people call from, Central Office of Information guidelines maintain that is not always the case.


See a press release from Hertfordshire Police on this:
Quote:
October 8, 2007
INCREASE IN COST TO CALL NON-EMERGENCY NUMBER FROM MOBILES
By Corporate Communication Dept

MOBILE phone users are advised to check their provider’s charges for 0845 numbers and, if they are unhappy with the cost, to store a different number into their phones for non-emergency calls to Hertfordshire Constabulary.

While calls to 0845 numbers from a landline are charged at a local rate wherever you call from, some mobile phone networks have recently increased their charges for dialling 0845 numbers to premium rates. Numbers affected include Hertfordshire Constabulary’s non-emergency number (0845 33 00 222).

Mobile phone users can use the alternative number 01707 354 000 and still get through directly to the Force Communications Centre – the same as calling 0845 33 00 222.

Head of Operational Support, Chief Superintendent Steve Ottaway, said: “We have been made aware that some mobile networks are charging premium rates for calls to 0845 numbers. This has come as a surprise to us and is somewhat disappointing as these numbers were originally intended to allow people to make contact from anywhere in the country for the cost of a local call.

“As this issue has arrived with little warning we are urgently reviewing our options so that people can continue to contact their local police in the easiest and most cost effective way. We don’t want people to be put off contacting us because of the price they have to pay. In the meantime, calls can be made to 01707 354 000. Most people can continue to use 0845 33 00 222 which will still be charged at local rate from landlines and some mobile phone networks.”

He added: “We recommend that you check how much your network provider charges for 0845 numbers and if you think the charge is too high, programme in our alternative number 01707 354000 for non-emergencies – any calls you make on this number will cost the same as any normal 01 number.”

[...]

Source: http://www.herts.police.uk/crimedatabase/site/content.php?article_id=4036


Note that Hertfordshire Police introduced its 0845 number in October 2004, months after BT scrapped BT Standard. Bt announced these changes in March 2004, so they had plenty of notice.
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« Last Edit: Nov 2nd, 2007 at 3:14pm by Dave »  
 
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