Durham Constabulary are advising potential callers to try their 101 live chat service before calling.
The advice follows a significant spike in non-emergency calls since the Covid-19 lockdown began last month.
Calls peaked last week when the force’s control room received 865 calls in 24 hours, 215 more than the previous month’s average.
Chief Inspector Sue Robinson, head of communications, said: “The situation we find ourselves is unprecedented, and it’s understandable that a lot of people in our communities are looking for answers to their questions.
“We’re taking a lot of calls asking for clarification around the current restrictions that are in place, as well as a lot of reports of people breaking those restrictions.
“While our call handlers are doing a fantastic job of answering these queries, the rising volume will become an added pressure on the force as time goes on.”
The force’s live chat service is designed to allow queries and reports to be dealt with more efficiently, and to keep the 101 lines open for more complex enquiries.
The service, which is accessible via the Durham Constabulary website, allows an operator to handle multiple enquiries at a time.
Ch Insp Robinson said: “We need the public to help us where they can, and one of the best ways of doing that is by only calling when absolutely necessary.
“Answers to a lot of our most frequently asked questions are available either on our website or on the government’s website.”
The most up-to-date information about the Covid-19 pandemic can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Durham Police’s 101 live chat service can be found at www.durham.police.uk/101livechat.