There is no obligation on telecom service providers to supply the 101 service free of charge as is the case with 999 under the 2003 Communications Act. Calls to 101 cost 15 pence from mobile devices and landlines, regardless of duration, but are free from payphones.
The public have always paid to contact the police by telephone for non-emergencies and the 15p charge per call is a transparent rate. Police non-emergency numbers (such as 0845 numbers) which were used before 2011 could cost members of the public up to 40p per minute. While it may not be an option for everyone, the public can also report non-emergency crimes online via forces’ websites at a time that is convenient to them.