The Independent Office for Police Conduct [IOPC] has launched a campaign to raise awareness of a method of alerting police if you are in imminent danger but can’t speak into your phone.
The Silent Solution system has been in operation since 2002 but it is little known among the general public. The facility prompts people calling 999 to press 55 on mobiles to signify they are in danger but unable to talk.
Consequently a poster campaign has been launched together with a how-to guide, aimed at "debunking the myth" that a silent 999 call alone will automatically bring help. About 20,000 silent 999 calls are made in the UK each day but operators have no way of knowing whether they are hoax calls or accidents or the caller just decides to hang up.
IOPC spokesperson 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."
The Make Yourself Heard campaign is being backed by the charities Women's Aid and Welsh Women's Aid, and the National Police Chiefs' Council.