If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard and let the 999 operator know your call is genuine.
If you call 999 from a mobile
It is always best to speak to the operator if you can, even by whispering. You may also be asked to cough or tap the keys on your phone in response to questions. If making a sound would put you or someone else in danger and the BT operator cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, your call will be transferred to the Silent Solution system.
The Silent Solution is a police system used to filter out large numbers of accidental or hoax 999 calls. It also exists to help people who are unable to speak, but who genuinely need police assistance. You will hear an automated police message, which lasts for 20 seconds and begins with ‘you are through to the police’. It will ask you to press 55 to be put through to police call management. The BT operator will remain on the line and listen. If you press 55, they will be notified and transfer the call to the police. If you don’t press 55, the call will be terminated. Pressing 55 does not allow police to track your location.
If you call 999 from a landine
Because it’s less likely that 999 calls are made by accident from landlines, the Silent Solution system is not used. If, when an emergency call on a landline is received:
– there is no request for an emergency
– the caller does not answer questions
– only background noise can be heard and BT operators cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed,
then you will be connected to a police call handler as doubt exists.
When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about where you’re calling from should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.