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Issues with 999 calls continue after technical fault, says BT

Issues with 999 calls continue after technical fault, says BT

The emergency phone system, managed by BT, is still functioning because it was supported by a “resilient” back-up system, the telecoms company said.

However the substitute location tool, which identifies a user’s whereabouts with an automatic text, is “not as effective” as the primary 999 system, the Metropolitan Police said.

BT confirmed the issue is “ongoing” and added that engineers are “working hard” to determine the cause.

A spokesperson said: “Earlier today we experienced a technical fault that impacted our primary 999 lines and we defaulted to our back-up system.

“The issue is ongoing, but we do know it was caused by a technical fault.

“This was not connected to any third parties and is not related to today’s hot weather or the separate Android handset issue reported earlier this week.

“Our engineers and technical experts are working hard to determine the cause, but our priority is getting the primary 999 lines up and running as soon as possible.

“As with all critical national infrastructure, we can’t share technical information on how the system works or give details on the architecture of the back-up solution.”

The Met said the back-up system was “not as effective at telling us where you are calling from”.

“Help us by having the address of the emergency ready,” the force added. “If you don’t know the address, look around for a street name or obvious landmark.”

Bedfordshire Police said “Normal location services are still unavailable on 999 so please consider using #what3words if the address of the emergency is unknown.

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“A full investigation is under way to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”

Emergency services across the country confirmed they were able to receive 999 calls again at around 10am but some warned they were still experiencing residual difficulties.

BT said it had implemented a back-up platform after issues with 999 calls connecting were reported at around 8.30am on Sunday and people were told to call 101 in an emergency for police and fire, or 111 in a medical emergency.

Several police forces and fire and ambulance services said they had issues and BT had reported a “system failure”.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service warned of a 30-second delay to connect to 999, while Suffolk Police said its system may not be working to full capacity and urged people to use 999 only in a genuine emergency.

A Government spokesperson said: “We are aware of a technical issue with the 999 call system today. A full investigation is under way to resolve this as quickly as possible.

“BT’s back-up system for emergency calls is running and members of the public with genuine emergencies should continue to call 999 or 112 in the normal way.

“You should be able to connect when calling 999 or 112, but if you still have difficulties connecting you may contact 101 for police and fire and rescue services, or 111 for health.”

It is not clear how many services have been affected by issues with the back-up system.

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  • June 25, 2023