Smartphones leading to rise in silent 999 calls, say Warwickshire Police - The Leamington Observer

Smartphones leading to rise in silent 999 calls, say Warwickshire Police

SMARTPHONES are behind a rise in silent 999 calls, Warwickshire Police has warned.

The force is reporting a significant rise in silent 999 calls to their control room.

A total of 10,754 999 calls were received in June but more than a quarter – 2,181 calls – were silent.

Silent calls can be made purposefully – such as in the case where someone is experiencing domestic abuse and can’t speak – but much of the time, it is accidental with the person not realising they’ve called the police.

Warwickshire Police is urging those who do call 999 accidentally to stay on the line and let call handlers know they are safe.

Ch Supt Mike Smith, who is responsible for the force’s public contact team, 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 people can call 999 by pressing the power button five times consecutively.

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 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.”


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