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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).
The new proposed location for the force control room will be a police location located near Junction 5 on the M20, Maidstone. Staff will be redeployed to this location with an aim for this to be completed by the end of 2022, however this may be subject to change.
Starting pay scale for full-time (37 hours) is £21,637 to £25,269, there are also progression pathways available for 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
Essential skills required
- GCSE or equivalent pass in English
- 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 within the control room but luckily my other skills were also identified by senior staff around me which encouraged my lateral development.
My name is Jabeen and I’ve been an employee of Kent Police now for three years as a contact handler answering 999/101 calls and am also trained in Live Chat. Prior to this I was working as a support worker/team leader in a care home for almost 15 years and then briefly as a medical receptionist at a local doctor’s surgery. I felt I needed to challenge myself more and step out of my comfort zone. I can say without a doubt joining Kent Police was the best career move I’ve made.
As I was a bit rusty around interviews and assessment processes and wasn’t as they say too “tech savvy” as many these days are, I decided to attend a workshop in Bluewater before applying. I was brave enough to have an on the spot interview with an Inspector there and to my delight and shortly after, I received an email that I had got to the next stage. All the staff at the workshop were so welcoming it motivated me even more to be part of the team! Apart from other research, I made sure I practised on my typing skills and speed before the further assessment, which was definitely a great help and I managed to pass.
I started my nine weeks training in July 2018 and found all the training staff very supportive. They not only improved my strengths but also worked on my weaknesses and helped me overcome them. In time my confidence grew considerably, and I stopped doubting myself and before I knew it, I was already six months into my new role and had already achieved the competency standard desired for a contact handler. I love my role within the control room but luckily my other skills were also identified by senior staff around me which encouraged my lateral development.
I grew an interest for promoting awareness in diversity and inclusion within the force and participated in recruitment events to attract the public from all walks of life, identifying with a protected characteristic or intersectionality. I am currently a single point of contact for diversity and inclusion and am very keen in making a difference around this and to support Kent Police moving forward. Due to my passion and drive I was also elected as an Executive and REPS lead for the Race Equality Network which is a support group that provides guidance, support and advice to Black , Asian and Minority ethnic members. I also got the opportunity to apply for an attachment in March 2021 to work alongside the Positive Action team for a month which was very beneficial and I’m attempting to apply what I’ve learnt from them into the control room.
I have also gained a few months experience as a cadet leader and to see the younger generation so motivated was very inspiring.
As part of the Asian ethnic community I’m very proud to have been part of recruitment events and work as a recruitment ambassador and was asked to be one of the inspirational speakers on the panel last year at a Black History month event. I was humbled at the opportunity and also the praise I received from many including the Chief Constable.
In the near future I will also be assisting the Schools Team to promote Kent Police roles in local schools which is an exciting new project for me.
Recognition is also very important for further development and I was very lucky to receive runner up in the FCIR annual awards in 2019 for New Achiever and then went on to be shortlisted in the final 34 candidates from 400 across 80 organisations for the APD National Control Room Awards 2020 and received a finalist award.
I have recently undergone a coaching training course which means that I will have the opportunity to coach new recruits in the latter stage of their training before they become “live” on the floor. I’m looking forward to this as I believe I have the patience and understanding to bring out the best in them. It also goes to show that with the right mindset anything is possible as I remember how nervous I was when I first started! Kent Police offer a variety of training courses and attachments to those who are keen to further develop both internally and externally. I attended a confidence workshop in July 2021 to help me with my presentation and PowerPoint skills which I found very beneficial and hopefully will open more doors for me.
In June 2021 I had the amazing opportunity of being on the DEI Panel for the Chief Inspector board. This is an experience I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, and it made me realise even more just why diversity and inclusion is so important internally and externally.
I hope my personal story inspires others who maybe thinking of applying for a role in Kent Police as it truly is an outstanding force that sets no boundaries in anyone’s aspirations or creativity and will bring out the best in you.
Thanks for reading.
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
Contact handler training will be delivered over eight to ten weeks and the initial part will be mostly delivered virtually whilst you are at home, the last four weeks will be in the force control room working in the live environment, this is to ensure you are ready and equipped for the role. We will supply relevant IT equipment for this and you will need to have a suitable environment and a stable broadband connection. The training is usually delivered Monday to Friday, the times of the training can vary and some of it will be shifts. Times to be confirmed when you commence your employment (this is subject to change).
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 shift hours indicated.
If you are successful and offered a role, shift preferences are subject to availability at the time of offering you a contract, when all pre-employment checks have been completed. This may mean what is available at this time may be different than at time of original application.
View the shift patterns.
To work for us you must:
- be 18 years or older
- have a GCSE or equivalent pass in English
- 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
- I have not been unsuccessful in an application for the same role with any home office force in the last six months