Police and NHS urge British public not to call 101 and 111 non-emergency numbers after behind-the-scenes kit failure

Vodafone responsible for maintaining system infrastructure

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The UK's 101 and 111 non-emergency telephone numbers are currently inaccessible by the public following a behind-the-scenes failure.

Sources told The Register that a variety of phone numbers behind the system went down from around 13:12 BST (12:12 UTC).

Numerous police forces from across the UK took to Twitter to ask the public not to phone 101. The number is used for reporting non-emergency situations to the force and the other emergency services.

The outage will have an impact on UK COVID-19 tracking data because at least some parts of the government are using NHS 111 triage statistics to inform their response to the ongoing pandemic.

The Register verified that neither 101 nor 111, in the London area at least, were connecting calls placed to them. Police said 999, the actual emergency number, is not affected.

A number of National Health Service organisations also took to Twitter to warn Britons not to be worried about the non-emergency health service number becoming inaccessible.

Vodafone is responsible for the systems underpinning 101 and 111. As well as non-emergency numbers, the outage appears to originate from a Vodafone network problem that has taken down the entire telco's network, with – judging by Twitter moans – business and consumer customers alike being affected.

We have asked Vodafone for comment and will update this article once we hear back from it.

Back in 2014 a similar outage happened that also led to 101 and 111 going down for several hours.

Controversy abounded in the past about Vodafone's healthy income from the 101 number, though the Home Office abolished charges for calling 101 and 111 in April this year. ®

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