A non-emergency number

March 3rd, 2012 at 8:26 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Switching to an alternative three-digit non-emergency number could cut down on time-wasting hoax or abandoned calls, a review suggests.

About half of all 111 calls are “false” because of “pocket dialling” on mobile phones, children playing or pranks.

A review commissioned by the Government after two high-profile failures in the 111 system, in 2009 and 2010, floats the idea of changing the number to 112, which is less vulnerable to misdialling. However, this would be costly.

It also suggests allocating additional numbers for non-emergency calls; in some countries different numbers are used for , fire and medical emergencies.

This has been talked about for years, is common sense and should be implemented. We’ve had over a decade of reviews.

Almost no one knows the number of their local police station, so 111 gets a fair number of non urgent calls. If there is a nationwide non urgent number for the Police such as 777, then that would lessen the load on the 111 system.

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20 Responses to “A non-emergency number”

  1. dog_eat_dog (761 comments) says:

    Why are we worried about pocket dialing now when most modern smartphones don’t have exposed keyboards? It seems this problem has kind of solved itself, but only because actual change takes so damn long to implement.

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  2. David Garrett (6,774 comments) says:

    What do you mean “almost no-one knows the number of their local station”…try and find it! Either on the net or the book….and then when you do, hope it’s actually manned…

    Absolute no brainer of an idea…

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  3. Steve (4,522 comments) says:

    Try http://www.whitepages.co.nz
    Under ‘P’ for Police. North Shore 09 4775000. It is already in my cellphone and has been for a long time.

    The 111 service is quite useless sometimes, they are more interested in the caller’s details than the details of the person needing help. That would be due to the morons who play pranks or just can not think for themselves of what to do in an emergency

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  4. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    I am respionsible for two of those calls. My mobile in my pocket dialled 111 a few weeks back. Got a call back almost immediately. I have to say their concern was genuine, even if they were pissed off with me.

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  5. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    I think it’s a good idea. There are times that I would have called the cops for non-urgent matters (such as witnessing some junkies shooting up in their tourniquet’d feet at Western Park on a sunny weekend) but I would not have wanted to wasted 111′s time on it.

    I tried to use directory services to get through to the Auckland police, but there was an absolute idiot on 018 who put me through to CADS or something! If it was 777 to get through to a non-urgent local line, that would have been easier. I don’t know how much it would cost though.

    Fortunately we flagged down a cop car when we got to Ponsonby Road, and told the policeman about the shitbags injecting and the lower end of the park. I don’t know if they were caught.

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  6. peterwn (3,213 comments) says:

    Similarly with ambulances – one is reluctant to dial 111 where the incident requiring an ambulance is not life threatening. With Fire Service always 111 (even if the fire has been put out – they like to check anyway)
    Not sure where the expense lies with moving to 112. Possibly re-programming exchanges but this is no big deal.
    IMO any idea of GPS or other means of identifying location of origin of emergency calls for cell or other non-landline phones (eg Skype) should stay on the back burner for now. Costs would seem to outweigh benefits and there is a privacy issue – should carrying a cell phone be tantamount to carrying a location beacon? Also established landline providers would just love a measure that clips the wings of Skype and other VOIP providers.

    My personal preference is for a cell cum satellite cum GPS phone complete with pendant button with emergency services being able to ‘open’ the speaker and microphone to help communicate with an injured or disabled person. Ideal for round the house, shopping, trampers, or going for a walk on the Town Belt, etc (I know of two cardiac fatals on the Wellington Town Belt in recent years and such a phone may have saved them).

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  7. Scott Chris (5,974 comments) says:

    Yeah good idea to have a non-urgent 3 digit number.

    I suggest 123, cause “it’s as easy as 123″ (the obvious advertising catchphrase)

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  8. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Not 777, that’s Vodafone

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  9. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Or 123, that’s Telecom…

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  10. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Why are we worried about pocket dialing now when most modern smartphones don’t have exposed keyboards?

    And yet it still happens on my smart phone with a locked screen…..

    Most smart phones have a active ‘button’ to allow emergency calls, pressing that allows the numpad to appear and allows three numbers to be pressed.

    I find it funny though, in NZ I always managed to pocket dial 111, but in Aus I always manage to pocket dial 000…

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  11. Viking2 (11,276 comments) says:

    Why do we not have a series of numbers.
    dialing 111 requires you to then be redirected to a service. Now surely we could have 111 for fire. 112 for police and 113 for ambo’s and 115 for all three as often you do need all three.
    Ah but then we might HAVE TO DESTROY KINGDOMS AND AMALGAMATE THE SERVICES as they should be. Think about the money that could be saved and vested in better technology for all of them.

    Most of us are capable of learning to manage 4numbers.
    I think!!!

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  12. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    What about using words for emegency services i.e COPS ( 2677 ) or FUZZ ( 3899 ) or PIGS (7447 ) . Fire service FIRE ( 3473 ) or BURN ( 2876 ) or HELL ( 4355 ). Ambulance HURT ( 4878 ) or SORE ( 7673 ) or OUCH ( 6824 ).

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  13. Viking2 (11,276 comments) says:

    ggod idea

    Kids with text’s will figure this quick as.

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  14. Viking2 (11,276 comments) says:

    when you need the hearse you can call GOD 463.

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  15. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    Changing the emergency number from one everyone knows would be idiotic, but there is some value in the idea of a non-emergency number (I sugest 222). It could go to the same call centre but the 111 calls would get automatic priority. 222 calls could be put on hold if there were a surge of 111s. But the operator could – after hearing the caller, change the designation up of down.

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  16. Viking2 (11,276 comments) says:

    Clinging to the past is idiotic especially with new technology phones.

    We pay someone (many),to sit there and re route calls. Dumb

    Can 111 take pictures ?
    Can 111 take txtx’s?

    Ipads

    Ordinary phones will be obsolete before long.

    What about skype?
    What about video

    Real time stuff.

    If we are going to spend money lets get ahead not trail behind. That’s apparently why we are spending a zillion on fast Broadband.

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  17. Fletch (6,148 comments) says:

    A must watch –

    The new emergency number – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWc3WY3fuZU
    Courtesy of the I.T Crowd. Classic! :P

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  18. St Hubbins (26 comments) says:

    Extra numbers for non-emergency situations would be a good idea.

    An example is *555 for reporting road/driving incidents which I’ve dialled a few times when seeing dangerous activities on the road. The Police traffic section answers straight away and follows up immediately.

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  19. Paulus (2,564 comments) says:

    Principle needs serious review – could be a good idea.

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  20. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Just change it to 911. It’s already well known as the American emergency service number.

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