NON-emergency calls to South Yorkshire Police should be made on a new telephone number from next month, following a pilot scheme in Sheffield.
Instead of ringing the South Yorkshire Police switchboard on 0114 2202020, callers should ring 101 to report non-life-threatening incidents, get crime prevention advice and talk to local policing teams.
The number has been available in Sheffield for a number of years after it was launched as a joint project with Sheffield Council as a single point of contact for city residents to raise issues of concern and to ask for advice.
But now the number will be available for residents across the county.
The move has been made to reduce the number of non-urgent incidents assigned to police officers because of the number of posts which have to be shed over the next few years in response to Government funding cuts.
Eventually the number will be used across the country, so that no matter where people are, they know which number to ring for non-urgent issues.
Police chiefs are changing the way members of the public contact officers, with only six stations now offering manned reception desks in the county, compared to a previous 19.
Residents can call in at Snig Hill in Sheffield city centre, Ecclesfield and Moss Way in the city, Rotherham’s Main Street station, Churchfields in Barnsley and College Road in Doncaster.
Appointments at stations have to be pre-arranged and those who turn up on the off-chance can use an intercom system to arrange to speak to somebody.
Bosses claim closing the reception desks does not signal the end of community police stations but said axing the desks saves the force £500,000 a year when they are having to find ways of making up a £41 million Government funding deficit.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “Our research showed most of the enquiry desks received very few visitors and indeed, one desk had only one enquiry in a week.
“New technology has meant fewer people having to produce documents and the public has shown they wish to contact us by other means – telephone or email.
The new number comes into use on November 4.
Visit www.southyorks.police.uk for details on enquiry desk opening times.