24th Apr, 2019

West Midlands residents told about how to alert police when unable to speak

Sarah Mason 14th Apr, 2019

RESIDENTS across the West Midlands are being told about how to alert police when in danger but unable to speak.

The campaign launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) explains the Silent Solution system, which prompts 999 callers to press 55 on mobiles to signify they are unable to talk.

The IOPC-led Make Yourself Heard campaign is being launched during National Stalking Awareness Week, which runs from April 8 to 12, with support from Women’s Aid and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Callers need to listen and respond to questions and instructions, including by coughing or tapping the handset if possible, or if using a mobile phone, once prompted by the automated Silent Solution system, pressing 55.

The system filters out thousands of accidental or hoax silent 999 calls made daily. Around 50 emergency calls from mobiles a day are transferred by a BT operator to police forces in the UK as a result of someone having pressed 55 when prompted, enabling the police to carry out urgent enquiries to respond.

IOPC regional director Catrin Evans said: “It is always best to actually speak to a police call handler if you can, even if by whispering, but if you are putting yourself or someone else in danger by making a sound, there is something you can do.

“Make yourself heard by coughing, tapping the handset or once prompted by the automated system, by pressing 55.”

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