The move will make the number free of charge for all members of the public, including victims of crime, from April 2020.
The Home Office will invest £5 million a year to fund the service, which receives around 30 million calls annually.
Callers to the 101 number are connected to their local police force, or a force of their choice, and charged 15p a time.
The Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
It’s vital members of the public have confidence in the police and are able to report any non-emergency incidents in a convenient and accessible way.
Scrapping the charge for making a 101 call will benefit millions of people every year – especially the vulnerable.
We are also continuing to work with the police to develop a new website, the Single Online Home, to provide the public with the option of reporting crime online.
In addition to making 101 calls free, the Home Office is funding police forces to create a new website where the public will be able to contact the police and report crimes online.
The Single Online Home (SOH), is being launched in full in the summer to reflect changes in how the public are interacting with the police.
The 101 service was launched in England and Wales in December 2011, providing a memorable and accessible number for non-emergency contact with the police.
It should be used to contact police when an emergency response is not required. For example:
- if your car has been stolen
- if your property has been damaged
- if you suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood
- to give the police information about crime in your area
- to speak to the police about a general enquiry
Members of the public should continue to call the free 999 service for emergencies.