It has long been a myth that if you phone the emergency services’ switchboard on 999 and remain silent, the operator will know you are in trouble and dispatch help to you. Unfortunately, this is untrue and almost certainly a way to get your call disconnected because accidental 999 calls are made quite often, the operator would have no clue whether you had pocket dialled them, an over-enthused toddler high on Ribena and Fireman Sam had jabbed at phone buttons, or if you genuinely needed help. Some 20,000 silent 999 calls are made daily, making it a gargantuan task to sift the genuine from the accidental and hoax.
‘Silent Solutions’ is a system put in place by the Home Office and assists high risk callers who cannot speak, such as those who are still in close proximity to their attacker and are frightened of being overheard. If you are in danger and cannot speak, it is advised you dial ’55’ on your phone keypad when prompted to inform the call-taker that you need assistance.
It is always best to speak to the operator if you can, even if you whisper, but this system is in place to help those in severe danger.