New police advice on use of 101

News from Northumbria Police
News from Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police is reminding the public over when to call 101 after receiving complaints about the custody of a hamster, the seasoning of a burger and an overly amorous dog.

There are about one million calls to the number in the force area each year, but roughly 15 per cent of those are about non-police matters.

This means that more than 400 a day from members of the public are referred to the appropriate organisation by the call handlers.

A large percentage of them relate to cases of animal cruelty or animal welfare, which are matters for the RSPCA or local authority.

They also include faulty street lights, dog fouling and fly tipping and more unusual reports such as a man wanting officers to get a pet hamster back from his ex-partner and a woman who rang to complain she had been served a burger with too many spices on it – all of which are ordinarily matters for other agencies.

Northumbria Police’s Chief Superintendent Sav Patsalos said: “This campaign isn’t about trying to embarrass people, as the majority of people will genuinely think that we will be able to help them with whatever situation they find themselves in.”

The updated information about the most appropriate organisation and number to call in a range of cases can be viewed at