Calls to 101 could soon be free amid growing anger over crime victims paying 15p to report offences

Calls to 101 could soon be free after the Home Office announced it was reviewing the charge to call the non-emergency number.

There has been growing anger that victims of crime are being forced to pay 15 pence to call 101 to report offences.

The decision comes after mobile network Vodafone announced that it would no longer charge millions of its users to call police on 101, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Pay-as-you-go subscribers will be exempt from the 15p flat fee to call 101 from the end of May.

There has been growing anger that victims of crime are being forced to pay 15 pence to call 101 to report offences (stock photo)

There has been growing anger that victims of crime are being forced to pay 15 pence to call 101 to report offences (stock photo)

There has been growing anger that victims of crime are being forced to pay 15 pence to call 101 to report offences (stock photo)

Vodafone is contracted to run the 101 number on behalf of the Home Office, other telecom firms and the emergency services.

If the fee is scrapped taxpayers could end up footing the bill for the 101 service or phone companies could pay for the non-emergency number as they already do for the emergency 999 service.

Currently the charges for calling 101 make mobile networks £3.3 million a year, with £550,000 of that money being paid to the Treasury as VAT.

Networks are not supposed to make a profit on the non-emergency service but fees are meant to cover running costs.

A Home Office source welcomed Vodafone’s announcement, they told the Telegraph: ‘We welcome Vodafone’s decision and would encourage other mobile operators to follow their lead while we review the charges for the non-emergency line.’

Rival company O2 also suggested last night that it would also review the charges for its customers.

Victims of crime are put off from calling 101 by the charge and are sometimes left waiting for 40 minutes, a report by the Victims Commissioner found

Victims of crime are put off from calling 101 by the charge and are sometimes left waiting for 40 minutes, a report by the Victims Commissioner found

Victims of crime are put off from calling 101 by the charge and are sometimes left waiting for 40 minutes, a report by the Victims Commissioner found

Victims of crime are put off from calling 101 by the charge and are sometimes left waiting for 40 minutes, a report by the Victims Commissioner found.

The Victim’s Commissioner Baroness Newlove has backed calls to scrap the fee for calling the number.

Members of the public are losing confidence in the non-emergency service and are turning to 999 to report non-urgent incidents, warned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for the Constabulary.

The number of calls to 101 fell by 675,000 last year while calls to 999 rose by 500,000.

A Vodafone spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We have been looking to make improvements for customer.

‘It was decided it would be beneficial for pay-as-you-go customers who tend to be more vulnerable to zero-rate the 101 service.’

 

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