Advice for app developers

If you are looking to create an app that will call 999/112 or send an SMS message to the UK emergency services we have written this section to explain how emergency calls work in the UK and the accreditation process.

Standard voice 999

For standard voice 999 and 112 calls the BT 999 advisor simply acts as a human switch by asking the caller "Which service?" and then connecting the caller to the appropriate emergency control centre for their location. Once the caller is connected to the emergency call handler the BT advisor drops out of the call.


When an SMS text message is sent to 999 or 112 the emergency services don't receive the actual SMS message. Instead the SMS text message is received by the Next Generation Text (NGT) Service. NGT then makes a standard voice 999 call with a relay assistant who speaks the SMS message to the BT 999 advisor. The relay assistant then types the advisor's words into an SMS message and sends it to the caller. Once the BT advisor has connected the call to the appropriate emergency control centre the BT advisor drops out while the relay assistant continues to relay the SMS messages between the caller and the emergency call handler.

App Accreditation

BT cannot support a substantial change of service without the agreement of the emergency services. The 999 Liaison Committee has elected to assist App Providers to develop their ideas through the App Accreditation process that is being managed by BAPCO (British Association of Public Communication Officers).

App providers should email information about their app to BAPCO for consideration by the Apps Accreditation process with a copy to John Cockaday the Chair of 999 Liaison Committee. Click here to create an email to BAPCO.

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Updated: 14 January 2015