You need to call 999 but you can't talk?

Posted April, 2019

The police have modified the 999 system for people, who cannot speak but need help. If you are in danger and cannot speak to phone the police, you can cough or tap 55 on the keypad.


The circumstances under which an individual needs help in an emergency can differ, and there may be a time when you need to call 999, but speaking will put you in danger. Staying silent on the phone does not guarantee that emergency services will come to help you.

That's why the police are now raising awareness of a service that enables people to call them in an emergency when they are unable to make a noise or speak on the phone.
The emergency services receive millions of calls every year, and in some cases operators may be unable to tell if a silent call is accidental or a real call for help.

The Home Office has a system in place called Silent Solution, which helps callers, who cannot talk to an operator. Last Sunday, police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a campaign called “Make Yourself Heard” to increase awareness of the Silent Solution system.

So what happens when you dial 999?

The phone call will be directed to a call centre and answered by a BT operator. The operator will immediately ask which service you require. If you have not been able to speak at this point, you can make yourself heard by coughing, tapping the handset, you will be put through to the operator. You will then be asked to dial "55" to show that you are in danger, otherwise the call will be terminated.