What happens when you call the police?

We receive approximately 400,000 calls each year, and around 85,000 of these are emergency 999 calls.

Our Force Control Room (FCR) answers all calls to Lincolnshire Police.  The FCR is based at Police Headquarters in Nettleham, near Lincoln.

Emergency calls: 999

In an emergency, always dial 999.

This number is a 24 hour service and you should only use it in situations where there is:

  • danger to life
  • use, or immediate threat of use, of violence 
  • a crime in progress 
  • serious injury to a person  
  • an offender that has just been disturbed at the scene  
  • a need for immediate police attendance such as when a crime is about to be committed

When you ring 999, the BT operator will ask you which emergency service you need and the number you are calling from.   They will transfer your call to the Force Control Room in Nettleham.  The BT operator will inform the call taker of the telephone number you are calling from.

The call taker will ask you the location of the emergency and what the emergency is. They will then take your details. This process may take time but it is important to get the correct information from you to make sure we resource your call appropriately.

It is important to only dial 999 in an emergency. Call takers will advise you to contact the non-emergency number (101) if your call isn’t an emergency.  This will enable us to deal with genuine emergencies.

Non-emergency calls: 101

The non-emergency number is 101. This is also a 24 hour service.

If you ring Lincolnshire Police between 0800-2200, a switchboard operator will answer the call.  Outside of these hours, a call taker will answer it.

If you know the extension you need you can input this direct.

A switchboard operator will:

  • Transfer you to the department or extension number you need.
  • Transfer you to a call taker who may create an incident.

A call taker will:

  • Create an incident if appropriate and record the circumstances of your call.
  • Assess the nature of the call and determine an appropriate grading.
  • Give you the incident number and the grading.
  • Assign a diary appointment or arrange a call back from a police officer.
  • Transfer the incident to a controller to resource, if a policing resource is to be deployed.

 A controller will:

  • Resource incidents with the appropriate resources.  This could be special constables, PCSOs, police officers or specialist officers such as dog handlers, firearms officers or scenes of crime officers.
  • Carry out necessary intelligence checks on police databases to support that deployment.
  • Ring you back if necessary to gain further information before the officers arrive.

Where attendance is not deemed necessary, we will deal with some calls over the phone. The Incident Resolution Team (IRT) and the Crime Management Bureau (CMB) may record a crime report over the phone.  This will depend on the nature of what you are reporting.

How much does it cost to call 101?

Calls to 101 (from both landlines and mobile networks) cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call, or how long you are on the phone.

The 15p cost of the call goes to the telephony providers to cover the cost of carrying the calls. The police and government receive no money from calls to 101.

I am deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, can I use 101?

Yes, you can textphone 18001 101.

Using 101 to call us from outside Lincolnshire

To call a police force in a county other than the one in which you are located, dial 101 and listen to the full message which will state:

“Thank you for calling 101.  We are connecting you to [County of origin] Police, if you require a different Police force please press hash (#)”

You will then be asked to say the force that you need, followed with a confirmation“yes”.

What we will ask when you report an incident

When you contact us to report an incident, we will ask you:

  • Your name
  • The number you are calling from
  • The location of the incident
  • Your address and contact number
  • Your date of birth
  • What has happened, who was involved, when did it happen, where did it happen, how has it happened?

Take your time to answer the questions as correctly and as clearly as possible. We need as much information as possible.  This is so that officers are aware of the circumstances and of any risks to ensure the safety of the public and officers.

How we grade incidents

We grade incidents into the following categories:


We grade a call as 'urgent' and a resource deployed when:

  • There is immediate risk to life or injury
  • A crime is in action with suspects on scene or nearby
  • Important evidence may be lost

We aim to attend urgent incidents within 15 minutes in urban areas and within 20 minutes in rural areas.


We grade a call as a ‘priority’ where prompt, but not immediate, attendance is needed and there is no immediate risk to life or injury.

We will attend ‘priority’ incidents as soon as a resource is free, but this may not be for a few hours.  We assess each priority on its own merits, using our professional judgement.  Some will take precedence over others.

If the circumstances change before police attendance, please ring back quoting the incident number.


We grade any other call where police attendance is appropriate as ‘routine’.  We will provide you with an appointment which suits your availability and matches the circumstances of your incident. You will know when to expect the officer.  If we are unable to attend at that specified time, we will contact you to rearrange.

Hoax calls

We do unfortunately receive hoax and nuisance calls. It is illegal to make hoax calls.  Doing this puts lives at risk by preventing us from answering genuine emergency calls. We will prosecute persons who intentionally misuse the communications systems.

More information

For more information about the 101 number visit:

9 Mar 16 at 10:26 AM

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