Calling 999 allows you to speak to the emergency services, accessing the help you require quickly.
But if you are ever in a situation where you’re unable to talk or where it may be dangerous to speak aloud, you can still alert the police that you need help, thanks to the Silent Solution system.
How to make a silent 999 call
The Silent Solution system, which has been in operation since 2002, prompts 999 callers to press 55 on mobiles to signify they are unable to talk.
The instructions are as follows:
1. Dial 999
2. Listen to the questions from the 999 operator
3. Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can
4. If prompted, press 55. This lets the 999 call operator know it’s a genuine emergency and you’ll be put through to the police
Make Yourself Heard
The ‘Make Yourself Heard’ campaign has been launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) today (8 April).
This campaign aims to inform people of the Silent Solution system and the steps they need to take in order to silently alert the police that they need assistance.
Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council are supporting this campaign.
Silent Solution system
Around 20,000 silent emergency calls are made in the UK each day, with a quarter of these calls being transferred to the Silent Solution system if call handlers are unsure if they are genuine, after having received no response after 30 seconds.
The West Yorkshire Police website explains that “each day the 999 service receives large numbers of accidental 999 calls, particularly from mobile phones.
“BT's operators will attempt to confirm there is an emergency by asking the normal questions in order to receive a response.
“If suspicious noises are heard, the call will be put through to the police or the caller will be asked to press or dial 55 which will also route the call to the police.”
“BT operator will pass on to the police any information they have been able to establish and the police Customer Contact Centre Agent will then also attempt to assess if there is an emergency and the location of the caller.”