UPDATE: UK Government phone alert – further issues

UPDATE: UK Government phone alert - further issues

UPDATE: UK Government phone alert - further issues

UK Government emergency phone alerts didn’t work on 1-in-5 phones and sounded extra alerts on others.

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 25 at 10.59 pm

The UK Government emergency phone alert system didn’t work on 1-in-5 phones it has been revealed by the BBC on Twitter: “One in five UK phones did not receive emergency alert, government says”.

The UK Government still see the test alerts on Sunday, April 23, as a success.Deputy PM and Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden described them in a statement to Parliament as a “critical step forward” in the UK’s ability to respond to emergencies.

The Sun also reported that some UK citizens had received a second alert. Some went off in the middle of the night on Sunday, April 23, and others early the following day. There was also an error in the Welsh language version of the alert message, for which Mr Dowden blamed autocorrect.

The UK Government is now set to review the system, in collaboration with UK network providers such as Three, who experienced technical difficulties with the alerts. Although there are no current plans for further tests, an improved version of the system might be tested in the coming years.

The UK will be following in the footsteps of other countries that use emergency-alert systems such as the United States, the Netherlands and Japan.

UPDATE: Sunday, April 23, at 5:59 pm

With thousands of people not receiving the UK Government phone alert, it is revealed that networks such as Three were experiencing technical difficulties with the new emergency alert system.

In a statement published by The Sun, a spokesperson for the network was reported as saying: “We are aware that a number of customers have not received the test alert. We are working closely with the government to understand why and ensure it doesn’t happen when the system is in use.”

According to the Cabinet Office, the problem was only experienced by a small number of users on certain networks. Today’s test will be subject to a review alongside the UK’s phone network operators.

Sunday, April 23 at 5:59 pm

At 3 pm today, April 23, the new government emergency alert scheme was tested in the UK. It was designed to alert people to imminent danger or threats in a localised area. It even made a live broadcast on a BBC News program, as newsreader Richard Preston was put in an awkward spot whilst interviewing a guest.

Although some reported not receiving the alert, the system is supposed to alert all 4g and 5g devices to emergencies in a local area. Bohemian Atmosphere on Twitter said: “So that was it then. The Alert, seems like most phones were off.”

Steve Laycock from Staffordshire, speaking to the Euro Weekly News today said: “The alert came about a minute early for me. It wasn’t particularly loud, but I would imagine it to be effective if you were in a crowded place, where there were a number of phones sounding together.”

With several sporting events due to be running today at the time of the alert, the planner said they had worked with London Marathon organisers and the Football Association (Tottenham were playing Newcastle in the Premier League). The World Snooker Championship’s organisers had scheduled a break in play to coincide with the test.

Some have seen this as government over-reach and saw the potential for an invasion of privacy, but it is apparently possible to opt out of the alerts in your device’s settings.

Other concerns include the revelation of hidden phones kept by victims of domestic abuse, with Women’s Aid sharing this advice on Twitter: “Survivors, your safety matters. If you need to turn #EmergencyAlerts off to keep your phone from being detected during the test today at 3 pm, follow this #Android guide. The alert will sound even if your phone is on silent, and when it is switched back on. Please share.”

The UK Government however, hopes that as many people as possible will leave alerts switched on. As newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden told the public: “Our number one job is to keep people safe and this is another tool in the toolkit for emergency situations, such as flooding or wildfires, and where there is a genuine risk to life.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.