Our Force Control Room is experiencing record-high 999 call volumes.
It's not unique to us, and forces across the country are in the same position, but you might be able to help us manage the calls where people don't actually need us.
We have many abandoned 999 calls, but more so recently. In November 2022, we had 61 per day (1831 incidents in the month), and so far, in June, we have had 120 per day (3434).
We're always busier in the summer so that is a contributing factor, but one of the other likely reasons for this is a recent update to Android smartphones.
The update added a new SOS emergency function for devices to call 999 when the power button is pressed five times or more. These ‘silent calls’ are directed to police control rooms. While this is a hugely positive step that could benefit vulnerable people or those in dangerous situations, it has also meant a significant increase in silent calls.
If you have an Android phone and don’t want this feature, you can turn it off. To do that, you can check your emergency settings to turn off the functionality added in the latest update. Go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Safety and Emergency’ and slide the ‘Emergency SOS’ button to switch this off.
If you do happen to call us by mistake using this feature, we have a simple ask – please stay on the line. No 999 call is ever just ignored, and our operators will remain on the line with you. It's far easier and quicker to clear an emergency call made in error than it is to track down where it came from.
As always, if a crime is in progress or there is an immediate risk to a person or property, always dial 999. If a crime is not in progress, then please consider reporting online or through 101.