Directory Enquiries

OK, this isn’t about ringing anybody up, this is about using the Internet to find out the telephone number of a business. To be specific, I wanted to find out the non emergency number of the police in Oxford so I could report a car which looked as if it had been stolen, then crashed and then dumped outside our house

I first tried BT (www.bt.com) and at the bottom they offer “The phone book” and then helpfully “Find a person” and “find a business”. So I clicked on the latter and duly entered police and Oxford. It first wanted to clarify that this was the Oxford that you find in Oxfordshire, as opposed to the Oxford you might find in Stoke on Trent or did I really mean Oxford Circus in London.

Once we had clarified that it then listout out all the entries it had for “police” in Oxford. After some entry headed Oxford City Council (which if I had read it properly would have been the right one) starts off with the Anti-terrorist hotline and then lists all the telephone numbers for the Hertfordshire Constabulary! I’m not kidding. After headquarters, its followed by ‘stations’ Baldock, Berkhampstead, Bishops Stortford, Borehamwood etc etc.

So I decided to try YELL (www.yell.co.uk) which went the opposite way. This told me “2 results for police, No results in Oxford so your search has been widened to Oxfordshire” How ever did Morse manage. Clearly St Aldates Police Station doesn’t really exist. Whatever do they do in that building opposite the Courst Of Justice in St Aldates. Their next suggestion was “Henley Police Station” Well done YELL, you are several miles closer than BT can manage. To be fair to Yell, the next entry was the right one, and to be fair to BT the first entry under Oxford City Council was also the right one but it was completely confusing. What has the Thames Valley Police got to do with Oxford City Council