There will be times when a domestic abuse victim needs urgent help and needs to call the Police but may be unable to speak, due to not wanting to alert the perpetrator to the call.

There is a way round this which the emergency services call the 'silent solution'.

When a person calls 999, an operator asks which service they require. If they do not answer, they are prompted to tap the handset, cough, or make a noise. If none of these happen, they are then given the option to press 55.

Doing this will alert the operator that the person has made the call intentionally and needs help.

A police spokesman said 'Please do not think that just because you dial 999 that police will attend. We totally understand that sometimes people are unable or too afraid to talk, however it must be clear that we will not routinely attend a silent 999 call.'

    The reason is that the emergency services don’t know whether the call was made by accident, perhaps after mis-dialling.

    It is hoped that by spreading awareness of the function, the emergency services will be able to act more efficiently and save lives.