Lisa Woods is one of our Force Control Room (FCR) operatives. She spends each shift taking both 101 and 999 calls from the public – here’s an insight into the job and why she loves it.
Prior to applying for a role in the Police, amongst other roles, I had spent the previous 3 years fostering children. I found fostering very rewarding and it gave me the desire to find a position where I could make a difference.
Working in the Control Room has always been something I have been interested in, I applied for the role many years ago but was unsuccessful. With some experience behind me, I decided to re-apply and was delighted when I was offered the role of a multi skilled operative.
Having now worked in the Control Room for 4.5 years as a call handler, working two 12 hour shifts a week, I have gained significant experience and dealt with all types of incidents, whether low level or life threatening. There are two personal ‘rules’ I try to follow, they are:
To recognise that any call you receive might not be what it appears, I ask probing questions and read between the lines to identify possible vulnerabilities and threats that the caller is not open to share. Making the caller feel at ease and able to talk without judgement is key to providing the best advice and appropriate Police assistance.
Having experienced many difficult reports, it is easy to not be empathetic when you receive the lower level calls, but I will always try to understand that many members of our community have been fortunate enough not to experience criminality in their life and reports we may consider minor are important to that caller and they should be treated as such.
Yes, we face many challenges on a daily basis, increasing call volumes, difficult callers who may not agree with our processes, mental health which has become a major part of our role, but we have the ability to help someone when they are at their most vulnerable and it is incredibly rewarding, working with like-minded individuals who bring different life experiences and bonding together as a team in a role that is fairly unique, is humbling.