What to do when you need to call 999 but can’t speak

Making a subtle call to the police can be extremely difficult when you’re in a life-threatening situation. Despite the fact that many still believe that officers will attend when you make a silent call to 999, this is a myth.

However, a new campaign has been launched to put an end to the confusion and tell you exactly what to do if ever you need the police to show up without being able to talk to them.

 need to call 999 but can't speak
Getty Images

Around 5,000 of the 20,000 silent 999 calls made daily are put through to an automated system. This is known as ‘Silent Solution’, a system where callers are then asked to press 55 to confirm whether there is a genuine emergency.

The system, which has been operating on mobile phones since 2002, filters out thousands of accidental or hoax silent 999 calls made daily. But sometimes, it also leads to real calls being dismissed as many people do not know how to use the service properly – which leads to the police not showing up.

According to Metro, a recent study found that only 50 silent 999 callers press the command each day, despite the system filtering 20,000 calls.

To help raise awareness of this, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched a new campaign for the Silent Solution service promoting a how-to-guide which aims to ‘debunk the myths’ that a silent 999 call alone will automatically bring help.

Getty Images

The new campaign is being supported by the family of Kerry Power – a 36 year-old woman who was killed by her ex-partner in Plymouth, in December 2013, after she made a silent 999 call but did not press 55, which meant her police were not notified.

Following her death, Kerry’s family explained that she had not been told to press 55 when she alerted officers of her ex-partner’s stalking towards the end of their relationship. They are now involved in the campaign in the hope that more lives can be saved.