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October 27 2011.

On November 1st, all police forces throughout England and Wales will switch from their various non-emergency contact numbers to  a new national 101 number 

Sussex Police have been preparing for months for the switch-over and have been live testing the 101 number since July in order to monitor how well the technology works.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, Head of Sussex Police Communications Department said: "We are really pleased that Sussex Police was one of four forces asked to live test the new number. It has enabled us to address any problems and correct them in time for the national launch.

"The introduction of 101 will provide a common, easily remembered and accessible number that will not only be simpler for residents of Sussex, but will also reduce confusion for visitors to the county.

"As from November the 1st, all of our contact details will be changed on our website, as well as social media sites and will appear gradually on new printed information. However, any printed material with an expected shelf life of more than 12 months has already been produced with the new number.

"Calls to the 101 non-emergency number will cost 15 pence for the entire call, no matter how long the call or what time of day it is. This applies to landlines and mobile phones. In an emergency, callers should still dial 999, which is free. Those members of the public with impaired hearing or speech can still use the textphone -18001 101.

"You can also report most non-emergency crime at no cost via our website at  Online crime reporting was introduced back in January and has proven very popular with many of the public who prefer this method of contacting the police rather than phoning.

"For the time being the 0845 number will continue to run in tandem with 101."

When a member of the public calls 101, the system will determine the caller's location and connect them to the police force covering that area. They will hear a recorded message announcing which police force they are being connected to. If a caller is on a boundary between two or more forces, the recorded message will give them a choice of which force to be connected to.

Police call handlers in the force control room for that area will then answer the calls and respond appropriately. The caller will not be put through to a large national call centre.

Professor Gordon Bull from Sussex Police Authority said: "The introduction of the new non-emergency number is a real step forward and I am delighted that rather than having to remember different numbers depending on where you are in the country members of the public will be able to dial this simple  number to contact the police wherever they are."