A new telephone number for contacting the PSNI has been launched to reduce the volume of unnecessary calls to the 999 service.
As of yesterday, anyone wishing to call the police for anything other than a genuine emergency must ring 101.
The old 0845 600 8000 service will be gradually phased out.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott has said the new 24-hour number will be widely publicised over the coming weeks and should simplify how members of the public contact the PSNI.
“We see the introduction of 101 as another step toward our ambition to deliver the finest personal policing service,” he said.
“One of the biggest benefits for people in the community is that they will have an easy to remember number that they can call from anywhere in Northern Ireland at any time.”
Mr Baggott said 999 should still be called where a crime was in progress, or someone was danger, and added: “By making it clear when to dial 101 non-emergency and when to dial 999 we can ensure that real emergencies are dealt with appropriately, resulting in a much more efficient and effective service.”
Policing Board chair Anne Connolly said: “The number change in other services has delivered positive benefits for both policing and for the community.
“As a board we very much welcome an improvement which will deliver a better public service.”
Calls to 101 from landlines or mobile phones cost 15 pence, regardless of the length of call and is a UK-only service. Callers in the Republic of Ireland, or roaming on an Irish network, must contact the PSNI on +442890650222.
DUP Policing Board member Robin Newton supports the introduction of the new service, and said it would be welcomed by the law-abiding public.
He said: “The type of incidents that will benefit from 101 contact are in the categories of anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, minor road traffic incidents and reporting criminal damage incidents.”
Ross Hussey of the Ulster Unionists said: “It is clear to me that the old 0845 number simply wasn’t working as only five per cent of calls to the 999 service were emergencies and half did not require any police response at all.
“The PSNI are operating with finite resources so it was understandable that they will want to continually review their methods of responding to calls.”
Tesco mobile and giffgaff mobile network users will not be able to dial the 101 number and should dial 02890 650222.