John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he used in deciding that (a) drug dealing, (b) drunken behaviour, (c) harassment and (d) intimidation should be treated as non-emergency situations; and if he will make a statement.
Hazel Blears (Minister of State (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Home Office; Salford, Labour)
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will not be making a statement as the criteria for what constitutes an emergency or non-emergency situation is an operational matter for which the Association of Chief Police Officers have existing standards for call handling in police contact centres that include definitions of emergency and non-emergency contacts. 101, the new single non-emergency number, complies with these standards and will work alongside 999 and other non-emergency numbers to provide a service for less urgent community safety and antisocial behaviour problems.
101 operators will direct callers to the emergency service if the call requires a 999 response. A non-emergency situation will also require an immediate priority response if the situation relates to serious criminal conduct or concern for somebody's safety even if the situation is not considered an emergency.
The initial scope of the 101 service has been developed through research with the general public, and in consultation with a wide group of stakeholders and local authority and police force partnerships.
The core service will cover:
Vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property;
Intimidation and harassment;
Rubbish and litter, including fly tipping;
People being drunk or rowdy in public places;
Drug related antisocial behaviour; and
The new service will improve the delivery of these services by providing a more informed and better coordinated response by local agencies. 101 will be provided by local authorities and police forces working in partnership to both handle calls and deliver services.