Make Yourself Heard

On 8th April 2019, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched the Make Yourself Heard campaign in a bid to raise awareness of what you should do if in danger but unable to speak.

Most people are under the incorrect assumption that silent 999 calls alone automatically signal for help. In reality, these silent phone calls are put through to a telephone operator from BT where in which, if the speaker fails to make the appropriate response, the call is ignored and help is not sent. This procedure works effectively to filter out accidental and hoax calls, but can also leave those in real, immediate danger unprotected if unaware of how to attract help using the correct methods.

The Make Yourself Heard campaign explains the steps you should be aware of if you find yourself in such a situation where you wish to contact 999 but cannot speak. First, dial 999 if in immediate danger. Second, listen to the questions given by the 999 operator. Third, respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can. Fourth, press 55, letting the operator know it’s a genuine emergency and you’ll be put through to the police, known as the Silent Solution.

The call handler will be trained to deal with calls such as these and will aim to communicate with you to the best of their and your ability. This could be using specific call press buttons, asking you to press a key twice for ‘yes’ or once for ‘no’, and will listen to surrounding noises in order to gain a substantial awareness of the situation.

This system has actually been in effect since 2002, but lack of public knowledge concerning the procedure renders it less than useful. According to a BBC article, around 5,000 of the 20,000 silent 999 calls made daily are put through to an automated system and so ensuring public awareness of what the appropriate actions are to take is imperative in maintaining safety. There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding emergency calls, and so to coincide with National Stalking Awareness Week, IOPC began their campaign to tackle some of that misinformation.

The importance of not only this system but the public’s knowledge of this system is undoubtedly invaluable, allowing someone the best possible chance at maintaining their safety and signalling for help when they need it most.

Mums In Need would like to support this campaign by helping to raise awareness of it within our community to ensure the safety of those we love most. Please help us in our efforts and make sure that your friends, your family, your colleagues know the information that may just save their lives. Communication is one of our best tools when combatting this kind of danger, and we want to help make sure that everyone has it.