Each year on average, the Force Control Room answers 250,000 emergency 999 calls and 500,000 non-emergency calls.

Contact Handlers and Dispatchers play a key role in the front-line response for members of the public. Our Force Control Room in Chelmsford is looking to hire permanent full-time call handlers and dispatchers to provide first class service to the people of Essex.

From missing persons to road traffic collisions, burglaries to assaults, as a Contact Handler for Essex Police you will be involved in handling them all. You’ll be joining a fast-paced dynamic environment where no two days are the same.

You will be the first point of contact for 999 and 101 calls from members of the public to Essex Police. Working quickly and calmly under pressure you will reassure callers while simultaneously gathering as much information as possible to help our Police Officers deal with emergency incidents to help ensure that our communities are a safer place to live and work.

There is no doubt that this will be an unpredictable and challenging role, but it will offer genuine satisfaction knowing that you have helped play a part in keeping people safe.

You will be provided with all the training, support and encouragement you need to become the best Contact Handler you can be. Training on criminal law and effective communication will be provided during your initial classroom training. You will then receive personalised tutoring where you will be putting all your training into practice with one of our experienced tutors on hand for advice or assistance.

There will be opportunities once trained to become a Radio Dispatcher, which is about prioritising incidents and deploying Police Officers to where they need to be. Further training in this field will be provided should this be where you want to take your career.

We are looking for the following skills to meet the role requirements:

Personal characteristics

Our Contact Handler will need to:

  • Work well under pressure whilst remaining calm
  • Have a reassuring manner and be able to respond to people in a calm manner
  • Use own initiative whilst following procedures
  • Work effectively both as an individual and as part of a team

Skills required

  • GCSE in English at Grade C or equivalent (Evidence needs to be attached to your application)
  • Understand the importance of honesty and integrity
  • Excellent typing and IT skills for speed and accuracy
  • Good listening skills
  • Ability to make key decisions quickly and accurately
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Awareness of diversity and inclusion in the community

We offer a competitive salary shown below.

Starting salary - £19,702 to £20,706 (pro-rata up to 20% shift allowance) and additional weekend working allowance. As stated, this is pro rata and the above salary is for full time 37 hrs.

To work for Essex Police, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Not be registered bankrupt or subject to a County Court Judgement or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  • Have a permanent right to live in the UK
  • Have lived in the UK continuously for the last 3 years (this does not apply if you have been abroad with the British Armed Forces)
  • Not be a member of the British National Party or similar organisation
  • Any previous criminal convictions or cautions (including those spent), fixed penalty notices, traffic offences or any involvement with the police must be declared and they may affect your application
  • GCSE in English at Grade C or equivalent (Required)

About The Force Control Room

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, we’re here to help people who can be having the worst day of their life. This will mean working bank holidays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

The main Control Room is based at Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford, but we have a back-up facility located in the West of the County that is used when operationally required.

Each year on average, the Force Control Room answers 250,000 emergency 999 calls and 500,000 non-emergency calls.

Contact Handler training will be delivered in two phases, consisting of both classroom-based and on-the-job training, taking live calls with feedback and advice on hand to guide you.

The classroom element is for 6 weeks, working 8am to 4pm. It will include training in Information Technology, Legislation and Procedures that are relevant to the role. This is followed by two weeks of live call taking with the training team taking live calls. Candidates will then progress to working shift work in the Force Control Room with a Tutor on hand to help you for up to 5 weeks.

You will be fully supported and encouraged by our experienced trainers and tutors throughout your training.

You will be expected to work a rotating shift pattern which will cover 24/7, working early, late and night shifts. This may mean being rostered to work on Bank holidays and Christmas, New Year and Easter. We are offering a full-time (average of 37 hours per week) shift pattern, and part-time hours are also available.  

Once you are competent in the role of Call Handler which would be expected within 1 year, you would be able to apply to be a dispatcher. This will be dependent on vacancies. Dispatcher training is delivered across 6 weeks in a classroom environment, and 3-4 sets of shifts with the team in a grad bay environment on the radio.

The application process will begin with submitting your online application via our website. The answers you provide will be shortlisted against our criteria, and if you are successful at this stage your eligibility to apply for the role will be assessed. If you pass both of these stages, you will be invited to an online written assessment.

The online written assessment will be held virtually, and consist of three parts – A literacy test, an audio recall test, and a report writing exercise. This should last no longer than an hour and a half.

If you are successful at the online assessment you will then be invited to a virtual interview with current Team Leaders in the Force Control Room. This will be a competency based interview based on the job description for the role.

After this, pre-employment checks will commence. This includes vetting (including security checks on yourself, your family and any declared associates), references, a hearing test and a medical questionnaire.

We're not currently taking applications for the role of Contact Handler but you can complete our registration of interest form and we'll let you know when this role becomes available again in the future.