Monday, March 27, 2006

Call Takers and Dispatchers

Recently in my force there has been an increase in call takers and radio dispatchers. We obviously were never told about this and have managed to work out what is happening. There is a new management "clear the box" ethos where controllers desperately try to off load old unresourced jobs onto response officers. The reason for this is the civilian "lets create a job for everything" ethos and as i have mentioned before the crime managements "lets crime everything before attendance" ethos.

You see we have now woken up to this and are aware of what these people are trying to do.

The situation used to be we knew our controllers, we could tell by the tone of the voice how urgent the job was and would trust them to the point that if they called me and said "we really need to attend asap but its not immediate" then we would go off and get there straight away rather than do something else first as its not immediate.

Now we have the reverse, we have new controllers who sound panicked when an urgent commitment job comes in but they don't give us the grading when they hail us. "Any unit available for an assault at xxxx respond with call sign" now the tone of voice suggests that this is happening now and is a fight in progress but no, its 3 days old. We have been caught out too often now that immediate commitment jobs are being unresourced because we simply don't trust the controllers.

The call takers are creating jobs that come in that really don't need any police involvement. Jobs such as "my ex husband has cc'd me into a letter he has written to the solicitors" now you would have thought that this would be a non starter advice given by the telephone ops but no, its classified as urgent attendance (within 45 mins) domestic harassment.
Great you think but it gets better
Now Crime management have seen this job come in and its yet to be resourced so they set about criming it as a domestic harassment. Even though on attendance you read the letter and its totally legit correspondence no harassment aspect there at all. No crime and move on maybe but no, now we need to investigate it!

Whatever happened to DISCRESION.

Civilians have taken away the core function of policing which is discretion. Now I'm nicking Mr domestic harassment because its been clasified as such. And SOCA powers mean i have to justify the arrest. But no Domestic Violence Unit state that we must take "Positive Action" and this means arrest to prevent physical harm to the caller.

I always try to police practically. Arrest when necessary, suitable advice when appropriate.

Its getting harder and harder to do now so much so we will soon be robots doing as we are told and I'm damned sure that, that is not what was meant to happen when we were sworn in as the powers were given to us not to the force and we should not be told to use our powers when we don't feel it right to do so!

End Rant


200 said...

Has it occurred to you that many of these people are new in their jobs and are still learning their trade?

They are probably similar to how you and I were in our first year on the street, lacking both knowledge and skill.

It works both ways. I really get fed up with people who don't want to take crap jobs, always find an excuse not to attend an incident or just don't answer their radio - the reason being is that the job then gets farmed out to people like me who always answer their radio and don't offer up poxy excuses why they can't deal.
I'm not saying I'm an angel, but I do get wound up by people who think of themselves rather than the team.

John Silver said...

Ah.. I did state that there has been an increase in the numbers of call takers and dispatchers and yes i do appreciate that they need to recieve on the job training.

My gripe with that is.. why put brand new staff onto a busy channel with ne experiance??

When we were new in service, we were tutored where our tutor would decide what jobs to take and how best to deal with the job untill we gained experiance. Why do they put brand new staff who have recieved basic training in the computer system and basic radio onto main reactive channels which are busy??

Im sure they will pick it up oin the end, i guess my main gripe in the whole rant was the way the new staff are being used by the civilian management to impliment the new systems / procedures rather than the old hands who know the score!

Stan Still said...

I wish I could make radio operators (they are not controllers - they don't control anything) realise that the command and control system has a queue system for a reason. It is so jobs can be queued up for an appropriate resource!

If the system didn't want 10 or 20 jobs on the screen, it wouldn't give you the facility to stack them, would it? The queue is there for a reason. Use it - get rid of the "clear the screen" mentality.

One of the main reasons (in my opinion) is a culture of not wanting to hand anything over to your mates who are on the desk after you. If the job is still on the screen when they take over, they will have to read it all before deciding what to do with it. This obviously interferes with more important tasks, like blogging and surfing. Get over it folks, prioritise and close logs if you feel they are going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

A very true argument. Yes more officers should get off their shiny rears and do some work, but people can only deal with one job at a time. Some officers should even be shoe horned OUT of a warm cosy office - even the sick lame and lazy can deal with "nuisance" calls. Leave the domestics and fights and accidents to the front line who really want to help people and catch the man carrying the swag.
Old bill always looks inwardly!! No member of ACPO ever seems to say NO to the Home Office, accepting more and more to the Police role. The US claim culture and "IT'S SOMEONE ELSES FAULT" means that nobody can deal with their own minor trivialities. At what point can the average copper turn around and say, "Grow up and sort yourself out!" Without a complaint or even accusation of hate crime.
Rumour does have it though the the government in their wisdom of crime everything are slowly realising that the UK is not a nice place on current figures and are tweeking what HAS to be crimed or atleast reported.
To all of us, good luck and can we have bigger pidgeon holes???