The 999 emergency telephone number was first introduced in the UK in 1936 and currently receives around 30 million calls a year. While the number has become synonymous with access to the emergency services, you may not realise that there is an alternative number that you can call in an emergency. This number is the 112 number and it differs from the 999 number in that its use is not restricted to the UK.
The 112 number is an international emergency number that you can use in all Member States of the European Union, as well as in Turkey, Russia and Israel. As such, it is a valuable number to know if you regularly travel through European countries. It will put you through to the emergency services in the same way as if you had dialled 999 for rapid emergency assistance from the police, ambulance or fire services.
Similarly to the 999 number, calls to the 112 number are free on all mobile phones. This means that you can call 112 even when you lack credit on your phone and cannot make calls to anyone else. Furthermore, the 112 number works across networks, meaning that your phone will try to call 112 using another network at times when your usual network is down.
You should not use 112 when you need to report a non-emergency situation, such as noisy neighbours, vandalism or anti-social behaviour in public places. Instead, you should visit a police station in the area where the crime has occurred.