Why do they call police 12?
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When you call the police in most North American jurisdictions, you dial 9-1-1. But in some places, you dial 12. So why is that?
It turns out that there are a few different reasons why 12 is used for the police. In some cases, it’s simply a holdover from the days when the phone system was set up differently. In other cases, it’s because 9-1-1 is already in use for other purposes.
In any case, if you need to reach the police, 12 will get you there just as quickly as 9-1-1. So if you’re ever in doubt, just remember to dial 12.
We call police 12 because it is the number that corresponds with the letter “P” on our phone.
The term “police 12” can be traced back to the old days when there were no cell phones and people had to make phone calls from landlines. There are 10 numbers on a phone, but when you dialed “12,” it would automatically connect you with an emergency line.
When you call the police, the dispatcher will ask the nature of the emergency and your location. Before you even respond, the dispatcher will ask for your telephone number and the number being dialed. If there’s an emergency and you don’t want to talk to someone, you can call 911 and ask for the non-emergency number, which is usually 555-1212.