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Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101

How we deal with silent 999 calls

There is a misconception that the police will always attend if you stay silent after calling 999 - This is not correct.

When you dial 999 anywhere in the UK, your call is answered by telephone operators from BT who direct your call to the most appropriate emergency service.

Each day the 999 service receives very large numbers of accidental 999 calls, particularly from mobile phones. So the BT operator will attempt to confirm there is an emergency by asking the normal questions to get a response. If suspicious noises are heard the call will be put through to the police or the caller will be asked to press 55 which will also route the call to the police.

The BT operator will pass on to the police call taker any information they have been able to get and the police call taker will then also attempt to get information to assess if there is an emergency and the location of the caller.


IMPORTANT: we won't automatically have details of the location (particularly for mobile phones) so we can't send police to your location.


The police call taker will do everything they can to assess the call, they will NOT always send a patrol so it's important that you provide any information you can. Each call is assessed based on the the available information, this will include previous calls, but this still doesn't mean we know where you are. If you can't talk, listen to the police call taker who will ask questions and give instructions to allow us to help.

If you are deaf please register now to join the emergency SMS system and other non-emergency tools we have available.