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The Silent Solution System: Press 55 to Silently Access Police

The Silent Solution System: Press 55 to Silently Access Police

In April, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), with support from the family of murder victim Kerry Power, Women’s Aid, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council, launched the ‘Make Yourself Heard’ campaign during National Stalking Awareness Week.

A 999 call to the police can be a matter of life or death, and yet for some women, it is too dangerous for them to speak to the police for fear of their abuser. Kerry Power is an example of a woman in this position who dialed 999 in need of desperate help.

Kerry was advised by the police to make a silent call to 999 if her ex-partner turned up, to ensure that help would be provided. Days later, she made a silent 999 call when her abusive ex-partner broke into her home. However, the call was transferred to the “silent solution” system but did not go through to Devon and Cornwall police as there was no response to commands from the automated voice system. She did not know that to use the “silent solution” system, you need to alert the police that it is a genuine call – thus, the police did not respond. Kerry was found dead the next day as her abusive ex-partner had strangled her to death.

The ‘Make Yourself Heard’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the “silent solution” system, which enables a 999 mobile caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, to press 55 when prompted – in order to inform police that they are in a genuine emergency. The system is well-established, but is only effective if the public know and understand how it works. In extreme situations, the system can be life-saving. 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. Sadly, this resulted in Kerry losing her life as a victim of domestic abuse, which could have been resolved if she had been educated on how to use the system.

By using the Silent Solution system, you can make a 999 call to notify the police without having to speak by listening and responding to the call handler by:

  • coughing
  • tapping the keys
  • and pressing 55 when prompted by the automated “silent solution” system.

Find out more about what Avon and Somerset Police are doing here.


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