- All the emergency services (including police, fire-brigade, ambulance, coastguard, lifeboats, mountain rescue, etc.) can be contacted via the special emergency number 999
(The European emergency number 112 will also work.)
- Most UK phones (even payphones) will allow calls to this number "free of charge."
- The call centre will ask lots of questions but this system works. Help will be on its way as soon as they know the problem and location, the extra questions do not cause any delays. Stay on the line because the call centre can often provide specialist advice or arrange the attendance of additional services.
- Do not dial 999 unless it is a real emergency. No-one will mind a "well intentioned" mistake but there are systems in place to identify petty callers. Hoax callers should expect a prompt police response.
- To call the police when it is not an emergency, you are welcome to dial the number 101
Which Service Should I Call?
- It does not matter, in an emergency dial 999 and an emergency operator will quickly decide what is required
- They will know what is needed, including any specialist services (lifeboat, cave-rescue, mountain rescue, heli-med, etc.)
- If necessary, they will dispatch multiple emergency services to the same incident