Calling emergency 111

For emergencies call 111


NOTE: 111 calls are free. You can call this number on a mobile phone even if the phone is out of credit.

The operator will ask you which service you need and connect you to the right service.

Call 111 and ask for Police when:

  • Someone is breaking into your house right now
  • There is car accident where people might be hurt, or cars are blocking the road
  • Someone has been assaulted and the offender is still there
  • You are afraid for your safety and or for those around you
  • You need an emergency Police response

If you can't decide if it's a real emergency and you're still worried, call 111 and ask us. We'll help you work out what to do.

Police receive 900,000 111 calls a year. Around 20 per cent of those calls result in an emergency or immediate response (otherwise known as a P1 event, as illustrated by the red bar in the graph). 

111 cals and P1 events chart for 2019 and 2020
(Click on the above image to view the graph)

A P1 event is when there a serious threat to life or property, violence is being used or threatened to being used, a serious offence or incident is in progress, an offender is present or leaving the scene and where a serious car accident has happened and people are trapped or seriously injured.

The other 80 percent of 111 calls received, while still prioritised, are considered non-emergency matters. Examples of non-emergency matters Police receive include such things as reports of historic crimes, noise and parking complaints.  Non-emergency matters take up valuable time in the 111 system and may cause a delay for someone in a life-threatening situation or real emergency.

There are alternative contacts members of the public can use in a non-emergency situation to contact Police:

What happens when you call 111

When you call 111, a Spark operator will answer your call and ask which emergency service you want - Fire, Ambulance or Police.

When you are connected to Police, the call taker will ask you a series of questions as detailed further down this page to get the information Police needs in order to get help to you.

If you need urgent Police help but cannot speak because you are afraid for your safety or that of others around you, the 111 Spark operator can assist you in the following ways:

Calling from a mobile Calling from a landline
  • Your call goes to the 111 Operator who ask which emergency service you need (Fire, Police or Ambulance).
  • Your call goes to the 111 Operator who ask which emergency service you need (Fire, Police or Ambulance).
  • If you do not speak, your call is directed to a recorded message. You will be asked to press 55 if you require emergency assistance.
  • If you do not speak, the 111 operator will ask you to press any number on your phone if you require an emergency service.
  • Pressing 55 when asked transfers your call to Police.
  • If any button is pressed your call will go through to Police.
  • Note:. The recorded message is repeated twice and if 55 is not pushed the call is ended.
  • Note: The 111 operator will ask you twice to push any button and if no buttons are pushed the call is ended

If there is background noise that indicates a service could be required (e.g. noise of a disturbance, sounds of distress etc.) then the call is presented to the service the operator deems appropriate. The call is announced by the 111 Operator to the emergency service call taker as a call with no speech and what they heard to indicate a response might be necessary.


Once connected to Police, the Police call taker will attempt to communicate with you by asking simple yes or no questions and you will be asked to push any keys on your phone in response to these questions. If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call taker so they can assess your call and arrange assistance for you.

If you can, it is always best to speak to the call taker even by whispering. You may need to whisper to give your location.

Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI)

If you are calling from a mobile phone the  Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI) system allows automatically generated information about the location of that device to be made available, at the time of the call, to the emergency service (Police, Fire or Ambulance). ECLI information indicates the approximate geographical position of a mobile device and is generated by an emergency 111 call from that device.  Using ECLI improves the accuracy and speed with which Emergency call takers can verify a caller’s location.

The system is managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the process and system has been included in a Code of Practice issued by the Privacy Commissioner. Police will only hold the ECLI for the purpose of responding to an emergency call and will keep a record of the information that was relied upon to respond to the call.

Like all personal information held by Police, an individual is entitled to access their personal information and to ask for it to be corrected if necessary. (See 'How do I request information about myself? Frequently Asked Question)

To access more detailed information about ECLI and a list of FAQ’s please refer to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website

What you'll be asked when you call 111

The police communicator will ask you three questions to start with:

  • where are you (where are police needed)?
  • how long ago did it happen?
  • what's happening now?

They'll also confirm your name, address and contact details.

Then you may be asked more questions, such as:

  • where is the person causing concern now?
  • do they have weapons?
  • if that person has left, which way did they go and how did they leave?
  • who are they? What do they look like and how are they dressed?
  • what's the number plate or description of their vehicle?
  • what else is happening?

At the same time as we're asking you for this information, if an emergency response is needed we're getting police on the way.

Help us to find you

It's critical in an emergency to accurately describe how police can find you. We don't always know where you are, especially if you're calling from a mobile phone.

If you're at home, it will be easier to give the police communicator the right information if you've written it down beforehand. Make sure you, your visitors or children can quickly provide:

  • phone number
  • suburb
  • town/district
  • RAPID number (available to rural residents from local authorities).

If you're on the move, give street, road or bridge names or other geographical features as reference points.

Children and 111

Make sure that your children know about the proper use of 111 emergency calls. 

Teach children about dialling 111 in emergencies with these fun activities.

Communications Centres

Police have Communications Centres in Auckland, Kāpiti, Wellington and Christchurch. Each year we get about 900,000 calls to 111 and about 1,600,000 non-emergency calls.

Communications Centres handle:

  • 111 emergency calls – when an emergency Police response is needed.
  • 105 non-emergency calls – for incidents that don't require immediate Police or Emergency Services attendance and for general Police enquiries.
  • *555 traffic calls – for traffic matters that don't need an emergency Police response.

Our Emergency and Non-Emergency Communication Centres, in total, receive nearly 3,000,000 combined enquires of calls, emails and online reports throughout the year.

Become a police communicator

Police communicators deal with calls about burglaries, family violence, disputes, fights, crashes, armed robberies, search and rescues, homicides, dangerous driving, missing children, thefts and many other incidents.

Communicators find out what's happening and where, decide on the right police response and send information through to the police dispatchers who are responsible for getting police units on the way.

Are you quick at gathering and analysing information and keen to help people who need police assistance? Then working as a police communicator could be the job for you.

We'd like to hear from you if you want to find out about becoming a police communicator.