Watching ‘999 what’s your emergency’ on TV gave me a better understanding of the role of a control room and made me want to help

Beth Sims, Contact Officer from West Yorkshire Police knew she wanted a job that made a difference and she does that daily within the contact room….

Having researched the role on the West Yorkshire police website and watched the “999 what’s your emergency” programmes on television I decided to apply. I genuinely love to make a difference and feel that I can say that I have been able to do this daily. The control room provides you with a broad knowledge of policing quickly, it is so fast paced and no two days are the same which is why I enjoy it so much.

Working in an emergency control room is fast paced, at times challenging but most of all rewarding. No two days are the same and that’s what makes it engaging, the range of calls is so broad and sometimes you simply cannot believe what you’re hearing. That’s what makes it great because you just never know what you’re going to hear next, it can be something quite silly, usually the calls for #not999 and the next can be an ongoing emergency with risk to life, its literally that extreme.

For me, being thanked for your help by victims of crime, is definitely the most rewarding. You don’t expect to be thanked at all and in most cases you often wish you could do more to help. I would also say, it is equally rewarding and relieving just knowing that you got officers to the person in need, particularly on the volatile calls where the risk of harm is high.

Our human nature is our best asset when handling these calls, we can understand and empathise so much but this can also be a slight hindrance at times.

The most challenging part is detaching yourself from the situation you are dealing with. In the contact centre, due to the nature of it, we often hear of distressing circumstances. The hardest part, on occasion, can be bottling your own emotion and remaining calm and professional. Our human nature is our best asset when handling these calls, we can understand and empathise so much but this can also be a slight hindrance at times.

International Control Room Week is a great thing for the team. It will publicise the fantastic work that they do and make them feel valued and proud of their role. It’s also great for West Yorkshire police as a whole, we are one big team working together to help and protect the public and it will be great to give others an insight into the work we do.

Thank Beth and the team by using #UnsungHeroes on social media. If you have a story, please email hello@controlroomweek.com