What to do when you need to call 999 but can't speak
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In light of the National Stalking Awareness Week, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has led the ‘Make Yourself Heard’ campaign alongside Power’s family and other organizations such as Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.The campaign aims to raise awareness of the UK-wide system could initially coughing or touching the keypad, then pressing 55 to alert the police that the person is unable to speak. This been in place since 2002 and is yet largely unknown. Callers who do not know about the system could be assumed to be hoax callers or calling by accident and cut off. Out of the 20,000 silent calls received daily, a quarter are transferred to the so-called Silent Solutions system – a system set up to give callers the option to make the operator aware that urgent police help is needed by pressing ‘55’ when prompted. However, out of the calls put through to the system, only 1 per cent actually end up using the prompt to alert authorities. Lisa Johnson, Manager of Direct Services at Women’s Aid, said: "For a long time, we have been encouraging survivors to use the Silent Solution system to make a silent 999 call if they feel it would be dangerous for them to speak to the call operator. That's why we are pleased to work with the IOPC to help raise awareness of the system so that survivors can call 999 without putting themselves at further risk and prevent further lives, like that of Kerry Power, from being taken." The IOPC has gathered a step by step guide on what to do when having to call 999 but speaking to the operator is not an option: When you first call 999 Calls are directed to call centres and will be answered by BT operators. They will ask which service you need. If no service is requested, but anything suspicious is heard throughout the process, BT operators will connect you to a police call handler. If you are calling from a landline
Because it’s less likely that 999 calls are made by accident from landlines, the Silent Solution system is not used. 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. If BT operators cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, such as situations where there is no request for an emergency, the caller does not answer questions, or only background noise can be heard, then you will be connected to a police call handler as doubt exists. In cases where the BT operator is concerned for your safety and the handset is misplaced or put down, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds and if picked up again, the call will be connected to the police.
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