A NATIONAL campaign to raise awareness of a system to help people alert the police when they are in imminent danger but unable to speak has been launched.

The Silent Solution system enables a 999 mobile caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, to press 55 when prompted – to inform police they are in a genuine emergency.

The system is well-established in the UK but is only effective if the public know and understand how it works and it could, in extreme situations, potentially save a life.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is leading the 'Make Yourself Heard' campaign during National Stalking Awareness Week (8th – 12th April), with support from the family of murder victim Kerry Power, Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Prior to her murder, Kerry believed that if she made a silent 999 call she would not need to speak or make a noise for police to send assistance.

Sadly her call was terminated and was not put through to the police control room because she did not know to use the Silent Solution system.

It is not true that police will automatically attend if you make a silent 999 call.

What you should do if you're too scared to speak

Callers need to listen and respond to questions and instructions, including by coughing or tapping the handset if possible, or if using a mobile phone, once prompted by the automated Silent Solution system, pressing 55.

The system filters out thousands of accidental or hoax silent 999 calls made daily.

Around 50 emergency calls from mobiles a day are transferred by a BT operator to police forces in the UK as a result of someone having pressed 55 when prompted, enabling the police to carry out urgent enquiries to respond.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Catrin Evans, IOPC regional director, 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.

“We found from our investigation into police contact with Kerry that there is a lack of public awareness of the Silent Solution system and are keen to share this important information as widely as possible. It could potentially save a life.”

Why police are making more people aware of the Silent Solution system

Kerry Power made her silent 999 call in the early hours of 14 December, 2013 when her ex-partner and stalker broke into her home.

She did not respond to the BT operator’s instructions and her call was transferred to the Silent Solution system.

As 55 was not pressed, the call was terminated and Devon and Cornwall Police were not notified of Kerry’s call.

Her ex-partner David Wilder called police later that morning to report he had fatally strangled her.

Kerry’s family said: “Although she was not able to speak for the fear of alerting the intruder to her actions, she followed the advice given by a police officer during an earlier visit; that she could call and not speak, as the police held her details they would be alerted and attend.

“Unbeknown to Kerry, this was fiction and nobody came...a short while after the call, she was strangled.”

An IOPC investigation could not conclusively identify the wording the police officer used when advising Kerry about making an emergency call however it was clear she did not know she would need to press 55 when prompted by the Silent Solution system.