Every year, there are almost one million calls to New Zealand’s emergency service number, 111. When you call 111, there will be a recorded message telling you that you have called 111. Then an operator will answer the call and ask you whether you want the fire service, an ambulance, or the police. After you answer this question, they will put you through to the service that you asked for.
The 111 number is very serious, and people should not call the number unnecessarily. Despite this, many people find it difficult to decide when to call 111, especially if they want to report a crime.
As an example, if you see someone who is about to drive a car when they are drunk, should you call 111? The answer is yes, because there is an immediate danger to public safety. However, if someone stole your bike, there is no immediate danger, but you still need the police, so it’s hard to say whether you should call 111, or call the police station. Most people don’t know the phone number for calling the police for non-urgent calls, so they may decide to call 111.
In fact, this problem is reflected in the call statistics for 111 calls. Every year, less than 50% of calls to the emergency number were actually urgent, and only 20% were asking for help in a time of real danger. From time to time, people have had to wait too long for their 111 call to be answered, because so many people are calling.
So it makes sense that the police have established a new number for reporting crime, 105. It is a number that goes only to the police, not other emergency services, and it is for reporting crime that is not urgent. They are also promoting an online service for reporting crime.
The guidelines for deciding whether to call 111 or 105 are “”If it’s happening, 111. If it’s happened, 105.” So, if you come home to find your house has been burgled, you should call the non-urgent number, 105. But if someone is in your house, that is dangerous, so you should call 111.
One more piece of advice is to use *555 on your mobile to report traffic problems. If, for example, you are in a traffic accident and nobody is hurt, you can call *555 and police will come to help clear the road. But if someone is hurt, you will need to call 111 to get medical care.
put somebody through: If you transfer a telephone call to another person, you are putting the caller through to that person. If you call a business, people may ask you to “please hold while I put you through.” This means “Please wait while I transfer your call.”
about to: if you are about to cut some paper, it means that you have the scissors and paper in your hands and you will cut the paper very soon. ‘About to’ means that you are in the moment just before something happens.
reflect: a mirror reflects an image. When we are talking about data, we can say that the data reflects something in real life. Here, ‘reflect’ is similar to ‘show.’
make sense: if something makes sense, it is logical.
burgled: Someone who steals from people’s homes in secret is a burglar. The verb is to burgle. It means, to steal from someone’s home in secret.