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Dialing 55 in the UK Will Not Track Your Location

Drew Fossen Drew Fossen
18th February 2021
Dialing 55 in the UK Will Not Track Your Location
Dialing 55 simply confirms that you have a real emergency (Getty Images).

The Claim

If you get kidnapped in the UK, dialing 55 on your phone will track your location.

Emerging story

TikTok user @marieerosee_ posted a video claiming that in the UK, “If you get kidnapped you can dial 55 and they’ll know you can’t talk and track you. Please share!”

The TikTok video received almost 800K likes and was shared over 25K times. It also spread on Twitter.


Misbarโ€™s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation found this claim to be fake. It originates from a misunderstanding of the system used for UK emergency calls when the caller is unable to speak. 

According to BBC News, around 5,000 of the 20,000 silent 999 calls made daily are put through to an automated system. This system is called the Silent Solution and is used to filter out large numbers of accidental or hoax 999 calls. It also exists to help people who are unable to speak, but who genuinely need police assistance.

 The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) released a Silent Solution Guide that details exactly what happens when you dial 999 and are unable to speak because it may put you or someone else in danger. You will hear an automated police message, which lasts for 20 seconds and begins with, "You are through to the police." It will then ask you to press 55 to be put through to police call management. The BT operator will remain on the line and listen. If you press 55, they will be notified and transfer the call to the police. If you don’t press 55, the call will be terminated. IOPC also stated that pressing 55 does not allow police to track your location.

Thames Valley Police further verified that pressing 55 does not allow the police to track your location, rather it confirms that you have a real emergency. They advise, “If you can say only one thing, please say your location.”

Misbarโ€™s Classification


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