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Android phone update triggers surge in accidental 999 calls


There has been a substantial rise in unintentional dialling of the 999/112 emergency service following an upgrade to Android phones.

This increase, BT say, has been driven by an update that prompts an SOS call when a particular button on the side of the phone is pressed five times consecutively.

Under normal circumstances, the ability to quickly trigger an SOS call can be lifesaving. However, it appears that a number of users are inadvertently activating this feature, leading to an influx of emergency calls.

A closer look at your device’s settings can help determine whether your Android phone might be contributing to this trend.

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Navigating to ‘Settings’ and searching for SOS settings in the options will provide the information needed.

How to manage silent 999 calls
It is essential to note that calls to 999 where the operator cannot hear anyone on the line, known as ‘silent calls,’ are never disregarded. Call handlers, in such instances, expend significant time and resources trying to call you back, ensuring you’re safe and don’t require any immediate assistance.

In the event of accidental dialling of 999, the recommendation is not to disconnect the call. If circumstances permit, please stay on the line and inform the operator that the call was made by mistake and no assistance is needed.

999 and non-emergency situations
As always, should a crime be in progress or should there be an immediate risk to a person or property, the advice remains unchanged: dial 999 without hesitation.

However, for non-emergency situations and where a crime is not currently in progress, consider reporting the incident online as a first step. This can be done via the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary Website an efficient alternative that helps manage the emergency lines for those in immediate need.

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Take time to understand phone features
The accidental dialing phenomenon highlighted by BT underscores the need for smartphone users to familiarise themselves with their device settings.

Taking the time to understand these features will not only prevent unnecessary 999 calls but also ensure that these critical emergency services are readily available for those who need them most.

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  1. Useful info. I haven’t made any accidental calls but found this feature was activated so have turned it off.


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