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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 17:44 GMT
Move to review 'silent' 999 calls
Farah Adams, courtesy of Strathclyde Police
Ms Adams made five calls from her mobile phone
Police and BT are to review the procedures for dealing with "silent" calls to the emergency services in the light of the murder of a Glasgow woman.

Thomas Waddell, 19, admitted raping and murdering Farah Noor Adams, 34, near the River Kelvin last October.

The court heard Farah made 999 calls on her mobile phone as she was stalked.

BT said each of the five calls had been handled in accordance with normal procedures but said it felt these should now be reviewed.

The Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (ACPOS) confirmed that a review would get under way later this month to see if any lessons could be learned.

Internal investigation

Maryhill MSP Patricia Ferguson has asked Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to set up an inquiry to find out who was responsible for the calls not getting through.

BT said it had already carried out an internal investigation and passed on the findings to the police and the procurator fiscal.

"Each call was handled in accordance with procedures agreed with the police," said the company in a statement.

"On each of the five calls in this specific case, operators were unable to get any response from the caller and there was no indication of any problem from what they could hear on the call."

In the light of this case, we have asked Acpo and Acpos to review the processes with us at their earliest opportunity
BT spokesman

A spokesman said three calls were connected to the automated response service run by the police while two were handled by BT operators.

The latter two calls and one of those connected to the automated system were halted at the caller's end.

The automated service instructed the operators to end the two other calls as there was no response to any of the voice prompts.

When operators receive silent calls they ask the caller to tap the handset screen if they cannot speak.

If this is done, or there are suspicious sounds in the background, the call is connected to the police.

BT said its operators answered about 22,000 accidental 999 or 112 calls from mobile phones every day, some 3,500 of them from handsets making repeat calls.

Thomas Waddell
Waddell will be sentenced later this month

"Procedures for dealing with silent calls are agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and Acpos," said the BT spokesman.

The company said the number of calls connected to the emergency services would double if they were not screened.

"Such a massive increase in call volumes could jeopardise many genuine emergency calls getting through," said the spokesman.

"In the light of this case, we have asked Acpo and Acpos to review the processes with us at their earliest opportunity."

Waddell, of Shiskine Drive, Maryhill, will be sentenced later this month after pleading guilty at the High Court in Glasgow.

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16 Nov 05 |  Scotland
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14 Oct 05 |  Scotland
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11 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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