Silent 999 Campaign Launches Nationwide

8 April 2019, 12:17

A 999 call being made on a mobile phone
A 999 call being made on a mobile phone. Picture: PA

The campaign is being supported by the family of a woman who was murdered after being told a silent 999 call would summon help.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has announced the ’Silent Solution’ campaign to help people summon help when they are unable to speak. It's being launched with support from the family of murder victim Kerry Power.

Kerry made a silent 999 call in the early hours of 14 December, 2013 when her ex-partner and stalker broke into her home. 

Prior to her murder, Kerry believed that if she made a silent 999 call she would not need to speak or make a noise for police to send assistance. 

“Unbeknown to Kerry, this was fiction and nobody came…… a short while after the call, she was strangled,” said a family spokesperson.

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,” she said.

How to silently make a 999 call
How to silently make a 999 call. Picture: Independent Office for Police Conduct

Police say that around 20,000 silent 999 calls are made a day. Of those, around 5,000 are transferred to the Silent Solution system because doubt whether the call is genuine exists.

Charity Women’s Aid say that often for those experiencing domestic abuse calling the police can be dangerous. 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.” 

Lisa said that the Silent Solution scheme could help people access 999 without putting themselves at further risk and "prevent further lives, like that of Kerry Power, from being taken.”