Why did you join the control room?
I’ve worked in Police control rooms since I was 19 years, nearly 30 years later still I’m here. Back then I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I’d worked for the Ambulance Service for a year and enjoyed it. So when the opportunity came up to work in the Police control room I applied. I’ve always been interested in helping people and I liked watching crime watch so it fitted the bill in my eyes.
Tell us what is like working in an emergency control room?
The best way to describe it, if you remember the Generation Game when contestants had to spin plates on sticks well it’s a bit like that. It can be fast, furious and overwhelming, the key is to remember that the main objective of the police is to protect life, keep that in mind and you won’t go wrong.
It’s always been the case that demand outstrips supply so that can be frustrating when you can’t provide the service the public want and what you want to give.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It’s an old cliché but when you know when your input has made a difference. I work in the NPAS control room now, though quieter than a ‘normal’ police control room the incidents in NPAS are more high profile so when there is a positive outcome and it’s in the National News you can quietly high five yourself when you know you have been involved.
What makes your job challenging and how do you overcome this?
It’s always been the case that demand outstrips supply so that can be frustrating when you can’t provide the service the public want and what you want to give. However when it comes to crunch the real life changing requests are always dealt with, the other requests have to wait or resolve themselves. You have to bear this in mind that the world will still keep turning and a good sense of humour helps.
What does International Control Room Week mean to you and the team?
The ‘Control Room’ is most critical room, the largest cog in any Police Force but is sometimes a forgotten place. I’ve worked with some top class, dedicated, caring people whose work isn’t always recognised hopefully this week will go some way to address this.