Life in the Force Control Room
Vicky Bayley 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.
Before I joined Northamptonshire Police I’d worked as a community midwife for 10 years, before spending two years as a full-time mum. I applied to join the FCR because I wanted a role that would be different every day, where I could help people and make a difference.
The core part of my role involves answering non-emergency 101 and emergency 999 calls, then risk assessing the information I’m given and requesting the appropriate response. This can be as simple as answering a query, making an appointment for a scheduled follow-up, or updating a member of the public on an investigation in progress.
At the other end of the scale, it can be recording a crime or staying on the line to someone frightened or in need of help in an emergency. Thankfully all the training we get means we’re well prepared, but there are still calls that stay with you long after you put the phone down.
A real sense of pride
Since joining the Force in May 2019, I think my proudest moment so far has been completing my training and receiving great feedback from the training team – they had faith that I would succeed in my role and let me fly!
It’s also very satisfying when a caller says thank you and you know you’ve helped them, even in the smallest of ways. There’s also a sense of pride when you’re involved in recording an incident and know the report you took and the records you made resulted in a dangerous situation being resolved or someone being made safe.
Different, challenging days
My shifts in the FCR are 12 hours long, and each shift brings a variety of calls from the public and other agencies reporting a crime or incident, or in need of advice. Every day presents new situations and challenges, some of the calls we take are very emotional and it’s important to stay calm under the pressure that brings. Learning to navigate the many systems we use is also demanding, but it quickly becomes second nature.
For me, the best part of working in the FCR is that I get to work in a fantastic team, with people who are always willing to help you as you face new situations. We’re a close team and support is always at hand – everyone asks for a second opinion sometimes!
I also love getting to talk to all the people who call us needing help and advice every day, plus my working pattern also gives me a degree of flexibility and works around the demands of a hectic family life!