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999/101 Call handler and Dispatcher
Note for potential candidates - sale of Kent Police Headquarters
It is currently proposed that the Kent Police Headquarters site will be sold and all members of staff currently working there will be redeployed to other workplaces and/or required to work in a more agile way. All new staff appointed to roles currently based at headquarters after 25 May 2020 and before the closure of the site will be accepting the contract knowing that their workplace will change. They will not be eligible to claim for any additional ‘home to work’ mileage costs or additional public transport costs incurred from the requirement to travel their new contractual workplace. By applying for this role, you are demonstrating that you accept these conditions. The only exceptions to this will be for existing internal staff where the new role is a promotional opportunity or a move internally with the FHQ site (i.e. from one HQ role to another).
Starting pay scale is £20,865-£24,654 and £23,940-£28,053 would be made available once vacancies arise within the progression pathways to existing staff members who are competent in both roles. Contact handlers and dispatchers play a key role in the front line response for members of the public.
Being a contact handler or dispatcher can be challenging and unpredictable, and no 2 days are the same, but you will receive excellent support, training and skills development to ensure that you can be the best you can be. We know that the role can be tough, but it also creates a sense of achievement and satisfaction to know that you will be helping members of the public, and keeping our communities safe.
As a contact handler you'll help to provide first class service to the people of Kent, answering emergency and non-urgent calls and covering the live chat and future technologies that will be received and making decisions to determine the most appropriate response.
You will be the first point of contact to respond to calls for service from members of public who may be distressed or agitated. The caller may be the victim of a crime and you will be expected to work quickly but remain calm under pressure, providing reassurance to our callers whilst gathering as much information as possible to enable our police officers to deal with the emergency incidents, support our victims and make our communities safer.
As a dispatcher you’ll be dealing with a large amount of incidents which you will need to prioritise. Make decisions as to what resources are needed and communicate to officers and deploy them to attend routine incidents or deal with real life emergencies.
Watch our latest video to find out what it's like to become a contact handler and dispatcher.
- various shift patterns and flexible shifts
- excellent training and support
- skills development
- competitive salary with progressions opportunities
- staff benefits and rewards.
Skills and experience
We are looking for the following skills to meet the role requirements:
Our contact handler and dispatchers 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 as an individual and as part of a team.
Desirable skills required
- GCSE English or equivalent.
Essential skills required
- familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook
- good listening skills
- effective communication skills
- excellent keyboard skills for speed and accuracy
- professional telephone skills.
You are the help they need when they need it most, and I think that is the reason I come to work every day
My name is Jordan and I was a recent graduated University student in Forensic Investigation and Applied Criminology prior to joining the Kent Police Force Control Room (FCR). I always knew I wanted to join the Police in some way, but I wasn’t 100% sure what that role would be. I saw the role for a Communications Officer advertised on the Kent Police website and after reading more I thought it would be a perfect role for me.
Working in the FCR exposes you to some of the most intense situations and every single call is different which is what makes it so interesting….. you never know what is coming. Knowing that you are the first person the public talk to in their moment of need, and expressing their raw emotions makes every second worth it. You are the help they need when they need it most, and I think that is the reason I come to work every day.
I have experienced some personally emotive calls and have felt the effect of them, even after only being here for 4 months, but if anything, it only motivates me to be the best I can be.
Jordan Smith – Call handler
I love my role as a call handler, it’s very reassuring to know that I am able to help the public in their times of need
My name is Jabeen and I have been an employee for Kent police within the FCR for almost a year. I can say without a doubt that applying for this role has been the best decision and career move I have made. Prior to this I was working as a team leader in a care home for almost 20 years before being made redundant, and then as a medical receptionist in a local GP surgery deciding I needed to challenge myself more and applied for this role. I found the application process straightforward and was delighted to be accepted.
I started my training last July and I found all of the training staff amazing and very supportive - they not only improve your strengths but also work on your weaknesses so you’re able to overcome them. Now a year on, I have achieved my level 3 in telephony within 6 months and my confidence has grown considerably. I am also an ally for diversity and inclusion and involved with KEMPA (Kent ethnic minority police association). I was lucky enough to represent the FCR in a recent Asian event and took part on the recruitment stall encouraging members of the Asian community to join our work force.
I love my role as a call handler, it’s very reassuring to know that I am able to help the public in their times of need. Yes, it can be challenging, but with the right support and understanding of the role this definitely helps. It gives me a sense of pride to know that I am the first port of contact for the public and I have been able to assist them. The staff here are all very friendly and the team leaders are always there to guide and support you.
There are other opportunities once achieving level 3 as a call handler and am looking forward to learning new skills and expanding my role in the FCR - I have been enrolled for the next dispatcher training. I would definitely recommend this role to anyone looking for something unique and immensely rewarding, and have the empathy to be able to assist the public in their times of need.
Jabeen Khattak – Call handler
Now trained in both Dispatcher and Call handler, I am soon to get my level 5 after 1 year and 3 months at Kent Police
Before I started this job I worked as Cabin crew for British Airways, but I no longer wanted to spend so much time away from home, and have the uncertainty of their shifts as my pay fluctuated each month. I knew I was happy with shift work, but my job at British Airways was quite an exciting role and naturally, I was apprehensive about leaving and pursuing a new role that might not be quite as enjoyable and challenging for me personally.
This role definitely gave me what I was looking for. When I began my training and found out that I was going to start training as a dispatcher first I was quite nervous as I had heard that it was the more challenging of the two roles and I was completely new to this type of job. However, looking back I have benefitted so much from doing it this way. Going into dispatch was extremely daunting but I found that I had lots of support from team leaders and colleagues, who answered all my questions and helped me to feel calm when I was nervous about something. I soon found my feet, and within time my confidence grew and I found myself having the answers for other people’s questions!
Starting the training for call handling was another challenge, but because of my time within a back up and support role, I felt as if I had had some experience with taking calls and feel I have thrived.
Ellie Foot – Call handler and Dispatcher
'For me to be able to progress as much as I have done in such a short amount of time feels very rewarding'
I started my career with Kent Police when I was just 18 years old. Finishing sixth form in the June with 4 A levels, I started at the control room just 2 weeks later. I have now been at the control room for over 4 years, and within this time I have become a qualified telephony operator, a dispatcher and recently I have transitioned to become a dispatch supervisor.
Completing the telephony side initially presented its challenges for me. However, I was continuously surrounded by colleagues and team leaders who helped to encourage and support me throughout. Personally, I’m not a very confident person, so for me to be able to progress as much as I have done in such a short amount of time feels very rewarding.
Daisy Burnett – Dispatch supervisor
Call handler training will be delivered across 8 weeks to ensure you are ready and equipped for the role. Training is usually delivered Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm but can vary, and candidates will be made aware of the hours prior to joining. This will consist of 5 weeks in a classroom environment and 3 weeks in a live environment taking calls in the force control room.
Dispatcher training will normally follow once you are competent in the role of a call handler which would be expected within 1 year. This will be dependent on vacancies, and on occasion, dispatcher training may start first if business needs require with call handler training following after 1 year. 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.
You will be fully supported and encouraged by our experienced trainers and team leaders throughout your training.
Our force control room operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year. This means you will be working against one of the below shift patterns.
An example of our shifts are provided below for each shift pattern. Each of these are 5 week shift patterns with shifts hrs indicated.
33 hour – 24/7 shift pattern – Contact handler or Dispatcher
Salary - £20,865 - £24,654 pro rata plus 10% shift allowance. Equates to: Starting salary £18,569 plus 10% shift allowance totalling to £20,426
|30 min refs|
|Week 1||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||Rest day||Rest day||6am - 2pm||6amd - 2pm||5|
|Week 2||6am - 2pm||6am - 2pm||Rest day||8 hour training day||10pm - 6am||10pm - 6am||10pm - 6am||5||1|
|Week 3||Rest day||Rest day||Rest day||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||4|
|Week 4||Rest day||Rest day||6am - 2pm||6am - 2pm||6am - 2pm||Rest day||RD||3|
|Week 5||10pm - 6am||10pm - 6am||10pm - 6am||10pm - 6am||Rest day||Rest day||RD||4|
37 hour – 7am - 10pm time window shift pattern
|36 min refs||45min refs|
|Monday||Tuesday||Wednesday||Thursday||Friday||Saturday||Sunday||8 hours||10 hours||6 hours|
|Week 1||8am - 6pm||8am - 6pm||8am - 6pm||Rest day||Rest day||7am - 3pm||7am - 3pm||2||3|
|Week 2||7am - 5pm||7am - 5pm||Rest day||6 hour training day||10am - 6pm||10am - 6pm||10am - 6pm||3||2||1|
|Week 3||Rest day||Rest day||Rest day||8am - 6pm||8am - 6pm||8am - 4pm||8am - 4pm||2||2|
|Week 4||Rest day||Rest day||7am - 5pm||7am - 5pm||7am - 5pm||Rest day||Rest day||3|
|Week 5||9am - 7pm||9am - 7pm||9am - 7pm||9am - 5pm||Rest day||Rest day||Rest day||1||3|
37 hour late turn only shift pattern – Contact handler
|36 min refs|
|Week 1||4pm-12am||4pm - 12am||4pm - 12am||4pm - 12am||4pm - 12am||Rest day||Rest day||5|
|Week 2||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||8 hr training day||2pm - 10pm||Rest day||Rest day||5|
|Week 3||4pm-12am||4pm - 12am||4pm - 12am||4pm - 12am||4pm - 12am||Rest day||Rest day||5|
|Week 4||6pm - 2am||6pm - 2am||6pm - 2am||6pm - 2am||6pm - 2am||Rest day||Rest day||5|
|Week 5||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||2pm - 10pm||Rest day||Rest day||5|
17.9 hour – 10am - 2am time window shift pattern – Contact handler only
Salary - £20,865 - £24,654 pro rata – no shift allowance. Equates to: Starting salary £10,015
|Monday||Tuesday||Wednesday||Thursday||Friday||Saturday||Sunday||4 hours||6 hours||training day|
|Week 1||6pm - 10pm||6pm - 10pm||6pm - 10pm||Rest day||Rest day||10am - 2pm||Non working day||4|
|Week 2||8am - 12pm||8am - 12pm||Rest day||6 hour trainingg day||6pm - 10pm||Non working day||6pm - 10pm||4||0||1|
|Week 3||6pm - 10pm||Rest day||Rest day||Non working day||4pm - 10pm||4pm - 10pm||Non working day||3|
|Week 4||Rest day||8am - 12pm||8am - 2pm||8am - 2pm||8am - 2pm||Rest day||Rest day||1||3|
|Week 5||Non working day||2pm - 8pm||2pm - 8pm||2pm - 8pm||Rest day||Rest day||Rest day||3|
14.8 hour – weekend only shift pattern – Contact handler only
Salary - £20,865 - £24,654 pro rata – no shift allowance. Equates to starting salary £8,346
|36 min refs|
|Week 1||Non working day||Non working day||Non working day||Rest day||Rest day||6pm - 2am||5pm - 1am||2|
To work for us you must:
- be 18 years or older
- not be registered bankrupt or subject to a County Court Judgement or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement
- have permanent right to live in the UK
- have lived in the UK continuously for the last 3 years (this does not apply if you've 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.
Following your application, we will contact you to arrange a telephone screening appointment with one of our control room team members within a 1 hour time window at a time that will suit you. This will last approximately 10-15 mins and conducted within an interview style.
If you are successful at the telephone screening stage you'll be invited to one of our assessment centres. This will last for approximately 2 hours, and will be a group based assessment with up to 10 candidates, and will involve an IT/multi skill test and group assessments to test candidates ability to use their question skills, listening skills, decision making and team working. This is part of the interview process and smart dress is expected.
How to apply
To apply, make sure you've read the job specification before completing the online application form below. Please also note our top tips to support your application, and the application process as provided above.