We’ve welcomed 19 call handlers into our Essex Police family today, Friday 22 July.
They join our colleagues in the Force Control Room who are the voice of Essex Police as the first point of contact for victims of crime and people in crisis.
Having completed their initial six weeks training, our new call handlers are ready to answer some of the hundreds of emergency calls we receive every single day.
Last year, call handlers in our FCR answered an average of 909 emergency calls, 733 calls via our non-emergency number 101 and 64 Live Chats on our website each day.
They were welcomed into our force by Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet and Head of Contact Management Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper at a ceremony at Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford today.
Chief Superintendent Hooper told them: “Almost everything we do begins with a call for help. Our call handlers have a matter of seconds to make decisions with an impact which can last for years. But they don’t make these decisions once or twice, they make them 50,000 times every month. You will now be doing that too.”
After the call handlers pledged their commitment to step forward to be voices of reassurance, Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet said:
“You will be part of what makes Greater Essex a fantastic place to live, work and visit. To those starting your first shifts: you are not alone. You will work with Fire, Ambulance, local authorities and other partner agencies to help catch criminals and keep people safe.
“Today, thanks to the hard work of call handlers in our Force Control Room, our force enjoys record levels of trust and confidence. It all starts with them and, now, you.
“Every call is an opportunity to keep people safe and every call may be an opportunity to catch a criminal.
“Be proud of who you are – you are on the front line of one of the UK’s biggest police forces.
“Remember that, at Essex Police we value everyone, whoever they are and whatever their background.”
At the end of the ceremony, an award was presented to a call handler who has shown determination in the face of adversity, named after FCR Supervisor Tony Boothman.
Tony joined Essex Police as a police officer in 1976 but, 10 years later, was injured in a motorcycle accident on his way to work. Ever since, Tony has worked in our FCR, supporting and inspiring colleagues every day.
He says: “I joined to help people, to save lives and change lives. And I’ve been doing that every day since.
“It’s really nice to leave a legacy with Essex Police and to feel valued and appreciated for the 48 years I’ve been with the force. It’s humbling, and my family are very proud."
Our new call handlers are now ready to respond to calls and make a difference.
New recruit Michelle Smith says:
“I joined the Force Control Room because I love helping people and I can’t think of a more rewarding job. "This means I get to show up to work every day and help people in their darkest hour of need – they’re not ringing us because they’ve had a good day!”
Nicole Hadley, another new member of the Control Room receiving her honours today added some advice to anyone considering joining:
“Just take the training one day at a time, there’s a lot to take in and I hear the training doesn’t stop when you’re in the job but there’s lots of support from the team and your superiors. "The training is hard because you’re the first port of call, it’s intense but worth it if you can save a life”
Join us today and we’ll help you discover what you’re capable of as a call handler. Just visit our careers section on our website and click on Contact Management and then FCR Contact Handler.