The Secret Way To Call 999 If It Isn’t Safe To Speak

by : Francesca Donovan on : 13 Jan 2017 12:19

This little-known emergency services number could potentially save your life but most of us aren’t aware it exists.


Should you ever find yourself in need of police assistance, in a scenario where talking will put you in extreme danger, the emergency services have a back up plan known as the ‘silent solution’.

Police have now issued a reminder to the public, explaining the protocol of calling 999 and getting through to an operating agent when you’re unable to make a sound.


According to the reminder, published in the Express and Echo, if you dial 999 (or 112) the BT Operator will ask which emergency service you require.


If there is no request, the operator will ask you to cough or make some form of indication that the call is an emergency.

If there is still no request then the call will be put through to an automated system which asks the caller to press ’55’ if the call is an emergency. If this is not done then the call will be terminated and police will not attend.

undefinedWest Midlands Police

The protocol has been put in place to allow operators to filter out accidental and hoax calls.

A police spokesman told the Express and Echo:

Please do not think that just because you dial 999 that police will attend.

We totally understand that sometimes people are unable or too afraid to talk, however it must be clear that we will not routinely attend a silent 999 call.

There must be some indication that the call has not been mis-dialled.

West Midlands Police

This reminder has been issued after an investigation into the emergency phone call protocol.


The investigation was requested after the mother of murdered Kerry Power, 36, said she felt ‘absolutely let down’ by the police and its ‘silent solutions’ system.

Kerry Power was strangled by her violent ex-boyfriend David Wilder after she tried to make a ‘silent solution’ emergency call when he entered the house last November.

undefinedKerry Power

Tragically, she didn’t dial ’55’ and so the Devon and Cornwall Police mistook the call for a mis-dial.

So, if you should ever find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to request help from the police out loud, just remember to dial ’55’ on request in order to get the help you need.

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: News


Express and Echo
  1. Express and Echo

    How to call police if it isn't safe to speak on the phone Read more at http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/how-to-call-police-if-it-isn-t-safe-to-speak-on-the-phone/story-30052198-detail/story.html#EMmQ0UX2xLZLCDZo.99