PCC sees what it takes to be a contact handler
Sussex Police are currently recruiting more contact handlers and have recently opened the doors of the Contact, Command and Control Centre at HQ in Lewes for potential applicants to go along and see the important work carried out there.
Sussex PCC, Katy Bourne spent Monday afternoon with a handful of trainee contact handlers from the last tranche of recruitment. She spent time hearing about their different interactions with members of the public and gauging their opinion of this varied and often challenging role.
Mrs Bourne comments, “A contact handler is expected to deal with a huge variety of emergency 999 calls, non-emergency 101 calls, online and social media communications. The situations they are faced with on a daily basis are as diverse as the communities they serve and they engage with people of all ages and backgrounds.
“I was impressed with the trainee contact handlers that I met; they showed great patience and understanding when dealing with members of the public. It was also interesting to hear about their different backgrounds and why they decided to apply for this role.”
Ellouise Coleman previously worked for Hastings Direct: “Our training began in December, and we started taking 101 and non-crime calls last week under supervision. In six months’ time we’ll go on to train for 999 calls. I joined Sussex Police as a contact handler as I was looking for a more rewarding and fulfilling role than my previous job in insurance. Now I wish I had done it sooner. It’s daunting as there is a lot of training, but I’m really enjoying it.”
Mrs Bourne comments, “I believe that providing excellent customer service to the public is crucial in this role. They are often the first point of contact with the police for members of our communities and even further improvement in the efficiency of this service over the next year will help increase public confidence in our force as a whole.”
Jane Derrick, Chief Superintendent of Force Contact Command & Control (FCCCD): “Improving public contact and the 101 service is a priority for the Force, and our ongoing recruitment drive of a significant number of contact handlers throughout the year helps support achieving this priority.
“We strive to keep our communities safe by identifying threat, harm, risk and vulnerability at the first point of contact; to resolve and provide a proportionate, effective response through contact and the deployment of the right resources, working with partners where appropriate.
“We are working on embedding a model within FCCCD which is resilient and flexible to meet current and future demand.”
Sussex Police expects to be opening recruitment for more contact handlers later in the year. Please look at the Force social media channels and the Jobs section on the Sussex Police website for further information.