back to article Ofcom's 116 discussions confirm El Reg advice

Ofcom has decided to whom the EU-standardised 116 vexation numbers will connect, and it's just about what El Reg predicted this time last year. Numbers starting 116 are to be standard across Europe, for services that don't constitute emergencies but are still socially important. So, following a year's consideration and …


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  1. Cynical Observer

    "Non-Emergency" Emergency Services

    Given that they can do geographical routing depending on where a call originates from, how about a non-emergency police number.

    Even if only to the county HQ of a police force, it would save a lot of hassle trying to get assistance when 999 is not appropriate.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Save More Time...

    Perhaps ElReg could also come up with the branding and launch campaign, to save another 12 months of faffing about?

  3. Steve Foster

    @Cynical Observer

    Gosh, what a spiffy idea. Here's a thought - how about 116 999?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Agree about non-emergency 999

    I've proposed 0800 999 to actual police forces but while they moan about wasted time with non-urgent calls to 999 and people don't know or can't remember what 'random number' non-emergency calls should go to, or won't dial because it's a charged call if they do know, nothing seems to come of it.

    Hopefully 116 999 - and the arguably more correct 116 112 - will be implemented. Sadly I doubt it.

  5. jason 7

    Well it only took the Ofcom....

    ...chap a couple of minutes too probably but as this would be linked to Govt. requirements you'd obviously milk it for a year before slapping together a one pager the day before the report is due.

    Lot of 'working from home' required for that project I imagine.

  6. King Edward I


    How much has been spent on consultations to come up with this genius plan?

  7. Steve Sutton

    @Cynical Observer

    Leicester police used to have "101" as a non-emergency number, but I think that's been closed down now.

    Buy curious co-incidence, the dialling code for Leicester is 0-116

  8. Bryn Evans
    Thumb Up

    Police (Non Emergancy) Number

    116 789 would be easy to remember.

    It doesn't have to be free either, so long as it is rated as a Local call, since we already pay

    to make this sort of call, if we can remember the number or find it if away from home.

  9. Graham Marsden

    @Cynical Observer

    "Even if only to the county HQ of a police force, it would save a lot of hassle trying to get assistance when 999 is not appropriate."

    Down here in Hampshire we have 101 which does exactly that.

    Of course it costs 10p to call...!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Absolutely agree on the police idea

    I'm not too bothered what the number actually is, but a way to reach the local police for non-emergency calls without firing up a browser has to be a good idea.

    On one occasion while driving home I saw a bunch of bikers wheelieing superbikes 5 yards off the exit from the main dual carriageway here but they were gone by the time I stopped and got my phone out. Then I couldn't get a number for the local plod. I thought perhaps if they saw a police car drive past they may at least think about what they're up to, but I thought 999 was not the right place to deal with it. I'm a superbike rider myself and you just don't do that on a major road at rush hour.

    Mind you, I'm probably rare in owning litre bikes (180MPH+, they say) for ten years and having no points on my license and no accidents. Perhaps I was overreacting. Maybe all a well-known local police number would do is encourage busybodies like me to spy on everyone. Hmm, might not be such a good idea after all :(

    Mine's the one with the plod on speed dial.

  11. Steve Foster

    "116 xxx"

    Heavy Breathers Anonymous?

  12. WonkoTheSane
    Thumb Up

    @Cynical Observer

    101 also works in Wales

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Curious bit of half-standardisation

    A thousand numbers is quite a lot, so a thousand numbers all different for each country is perhaps a bit confusing. I find it interesting that nobody thought to look abroad and see what is happening there. Point in case: 116116, in use as a central point to cancel banking cards in Germany.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Single Non-emergency number

    It has been thought of, and was even piloted in a couple of force areas, but it was subverted by stakeholder politics.

    The basic premis was that you could ring 101 and the operator would deal with a whole raft of stuff including Utility Emergencies. It was to be a joint venture between Local Authorities and the Police to relieve the 999 service. However in a number of areas the police looked at it as a method of obtaining extra control room funding and would not cooperate unless they had control over it, in other areas councils did the reverse. The Home Office also failed to adequately fund it.

    A number of control room suppliers have 101 solutions ready and waiting to go, it just needs someone to buy them, but I doubt funds will be forthcoming in the current economic climate. It would however save money for, The emergency services, councils, utility companies, transport companies and several others. I have to say the police and councils I dealt with could see these possibilities and were very enthusiastic about the benefits, even if some couldn't get their heads round the politics.

  15. Paul 4

    Well done el reg

    Just because you come up with an idea dosen't meen that the government did need to discuss it. Its an unfortunateside effect of a democracy, not stupid time wasteing.

  16. Number6

    Twelve Months

    That's pretty good for a quango, although seeing as they move at glacial pace and glaciers are now moving faster, perhaps it's not surprising.

  17. A J Stiles

    In future

    Just wait for the privatised emergency services -- an exciting new range of numbers starting 112, competing to deliver an improved emergency experience for you.

    Already confirmed to be signing up are The Moustache at 112 118 and Yell at 112 247. BT will continue to run the old 999 service on 112 500. Not to be outdone, a new startup -- rumoured to be working in partnership with a satellite TV company specialising in themed channels of repeats of BBC shows butchered with advert breaks -- will be simultaneously launching services called Just Cops, Just Medics and Just Firemen.

    Emergency calls will no longer be free (though at least one operator plans to run an entirely advertising-supported service using voice keyword recognition to target advertisements), but arrangements will be made for the major insurance companies to reimburse 112 xxx calls to selected preferred-partner companies. It is reckoned that this will result in a 90% reduction in the number of hoax calls.

  18. Simon Dummett

    @Cynical Observer

    West Yorks uses 08456 060606 for non-emergencies. Handily the number is on a not easily unnoticeable sticker on each panda car.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A J Stiles

    I loled. :) Terrifyingly, it will probably happen though.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    El Reg hacks

    hey, don't talk yourself down, you're bright guys...

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