Rise in silent 999 calls: Please don’t just hang up – let us know you’re safe
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We’re asking members of the public to tell us you’re safe if you accidentally dial 999.
It follows a significant rise in the number of ‘silent 999 calls’ to our force control room over the past few weeks.
A ‘silent call’ is where one of our call handlers answers the phone and there’s no response on the other end.
Although it can be done purposefully – such as in the case where someone is experiencing domestic abuse and can’t speak – much of the time, it is accidental with the person not realising they’ve called us.
Demand for our 999 service has gone up and in June we received 10,754 999 calls.
But more than a quarter (26 per cent) of these – 2,181 – were silent calls.
Below Chief Superintendent Mike Smith, who is responsible for the force’s Public Contact team, talks about the impact silent calls have on the force.
Ch Supt Smith said: “Although summer is traditionally a time of higher demand for the force, we’re getting more than 100 silent calls per day on average, and some of these are preventable.
“We never ignore silent calls, and our call handlers will need to spend time establishing whether the call was intentional.
“If you do dial 999 accidentally, please don’t hang up. Stay on the line and let our call handler know it was a mistake and you don’t need our help.
“This will save them valuable time - time that could be spent dealing with a genuine 999 emergency.”
Emergency services nationally are currently experiencing record high 999 call volumes and a contributing factor is believed to be an update to Android smartphones.
The update, which has added a new SOS emergency function, means you can call 999 by pressing the power button five times consecutively.
You can watch our simple video on how to change your smartphone settings here: bit.ly/silent9
Ch Supt Smith added: “Although the Android update has had an impact on the number of silent 9s we’re getting, we know it’s possible to dial 999 accidentally from any smartphone.
“Please take 30 seconds to check your settings and share this message with your friends and family so they know how to avoid making silent calls or pocket dialling us.
“There are many ways you can get in touch. If you need to report a crime or issue that's not an emergency, please visit our website: www.warwickshire.police.uk where you can also find guidance and crime prevention advice.
“If a crime is in progress, there is an immediate danger to life, or concern for safety, always call 999.”