I'm a 999 call handler – here's how 'ordering a pizza' may have saved a woman's life and everyone should know about it

A HERO 999 call-handler may have saved a woman's life after she called to order a pizza.

Cops in North Yorkshire received an unexpected call for a takeaway this week.

But rather than hang up or assume they were being pranked, the handler"immediately" asked if the woman was in trouble.

When she responded "yes", the handler used simple 'yes and no' questions to get more information from her.

A 40-year-old man has now been arrested in connection with the call.

Officers shared details of the incident on social media today.

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A spokesperson from the force said: "When a call 'to order pizza' becomes an urgent plea for help…

"We received a 999 call – but when it was answered, the woman on the line said she would like to order a pizza.

"Our call handler immediately asked the woman if she was in trouble, to which she confirmed 'yes'.

"With the woman only able to answer 'yes' and 'no' to questions, we established she was on a bus in North Yorkshire, and was at risk of harm from a man who was with her.

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"While keeping the phone line open, the call handler was also able to text her for more information.

"We managed to locate the bus using an online tracker, and bring it to a stop.

"A 40-year-old man from Leeds was arrested in connection with the incident.

"He remains in custody at this time."

They shared tips on how people in similar situations can access help if they need it.


"All 999 calls are directed to call centres and answered by BT operators. They'll ask which service you need," the officer said.

"If no service is requested but anything suspicious is heard throughout the process, the operator will connect you to a police call handler.

"It's always best to speak to the operator if you can, even by whispering.

"You may also be asked to cough or tap the keys on your phone in response to questions.

"The police call handler will attempt to communicate with you by asking simple yes or no questions.


"If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call handler so we can assess your call and arrange help if needed."

The post has gone viral, with Twitter users praising the quick-witted call handler.

One said: "This is excellent, well done those call handlers and the officers who reached the woman before harm was done, you should be very proud."

Another wrote: "Your call handler acted with superb empathy and professionalism."

Those who find themselves in danger but are unable to speak will be forwarded to an automated system which asks the caller to press 55 if they're in danger.

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If 55 isn't dialled, the police will not be sent.

The police have been using the system for around 20 years in order to help operators identify which calls are genuine and which are accidental.

How you can get help

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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