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When should I ‘dial’ 55?

Looking at Silent Solutions

Recently it has been reported that there were over 2.4million emergency calls made during October 2016. Over 800,000 were directed to Police, including about 60,000 where there was no explicit request but background noise or other circumstances flagged the call as suspicious.

At the same time there were almost as many calls – 750,000 – filtered out by processes including the Police Voice Response system (also known as Silent Solution). This works out to about 24,000 calls per day that need to be filtered out through silent solution.

The national ‘silent solutions’ system enables people to contact the emergency services without speaking by detecting background noise and prompting the caller to press ‘55’ if they want to be directed to police. The problem is too few people know about the service. When a caller is unable to speak to an emergency call handler for fear of being heard, the process currently has the call handler as the silent caller to make an audible sound, such as a cough, to indicate they are trying to make contact. If no audible sound is detected, the call is routed to the Silent Solution system which waits on the 55 digits being pressed which alarms the system to dispatch a response unit. Police stress that 55 must be pressed during this stage or the system determines the call to be a mis–dial and no response unit is sent.

It is highly important that more people know about the availability of the Silent Solutions service and ultimately what the simple pushing of two digits – 5 and 5 can mean in any dangerous and intimidatory situation.