I have worked for Kent Police for seven years and during that time have progressed from a communications officer through to dispatcher and most recently, dispatch supervisor. Before joining the force, I worked monitoring lifeline calls and felt joining the police provided a career which offered both security and day-to-day variety.
The communications officer role is mainly phones based, answering 999 emergency calls and 101 public calls for less urgent police enquiries. However, when competent in this role, there is the option to move on to being trained on Live Chat and monitoring the admin account for any incoming and outgoing enquiries to and from the force. The dispatching role consists of a lot of multitasking and prioritising your workload, monitoring all incidents coming into a specific area, including 999 emergency calls and deploying these to officers giving them the relevant details needed, including any intelligence for the parties involved while always ensuring the officers safety.
The day-to-day role can vary hour-to-hour and is one of the main reasons I have not lost interest in the role. You could be spending a couple of hours taking 999 calls, a few hours dispatching officers to immediate calls and maintaining officer safety and their welfare, monitoring immediate calls for the division, prioritising calls using risk and harm principles or ensuring that the most vulnerable people get seen as quickly as possible.
The role can come with some challenges. At times there is some unpleasant things that you must see and listen to, however there is always excellent support from other peers, team leaders and TRIM [Trauma Risk Management] practitioners should you need to speak to someone. I have learnt a lot since joining the force and being involved in many high-risk incidents. It is rewarding going home every day knowing you’ve helped at least a few people.
Advice I would give to anyone thinking of joining the job is to research the shift patterns to ensure you are able to manage the shifts and to also give the job enough time when you first start. It can feel a little overwhelming at first, however with the right support and training, you will soon feel part of the furniture and understand how it feels to be a part of the Kent Police family. During the last seven years, I have met some friends for life and the job has provided me with an extended family that are there for support when we have challenging shifts.