Back in 2012, and after much soul-searching and deciding that I needed a new challenge in my life, I applied for a position as a Call Handler with my local Police – and I couldn’t get anything more challenging than this!
The application and interview process was quite drawn out, but I found out I had been chosen (along with 17 others) to start training as a Call Handler. In July 2013, I had my first day working for the Police. After 8 weeks of in-depth training, I had my first day in the Control Room, answering 999 and 101 calls with my Tutor.
I had 6 weeks of again, very in-depth tutoring with the most amazing tutor ever, who taught me so many incredible skills and helped me to believe in my own abilities. The first time of being on my own in the room, answering calls was a very daunting feeling, as you just didn’t know what you were going to get at the end of the line – it could be something about a wheelie bin being stolen, to a suicidal person, to a major RTC on the motorway.
All our calls were monitored and listened to by the Inspectors and Sergeants in the Room, which helped me to feel more at ease about dealing with a huge variety of circumstances, and there was always Police Officers available for me to take advice from if I was unsure of how to advice a person.
There was never a typical day working in the room, there was a never a typical shift, and you quickly learn that no matter how emotional you feel about a certain call that comes in, you can not be emotional about it. You have to deal with it impartially, and quickly, especially if someone’s life is a risk.
The major thing that changed in me in the time I was working as a Call Handler was that I became quite cold and hardened to all the horrific things that were going on in my local area. I always have been quite an emotional person, and I thought that aspect of me would make it harder for me to deal with the more difficult calls, such as suicidal people, but after a while, you do become quite emotionally detached and I just seemed to cope and deal with things.
I believe that having worked in that environment has made me a different person, in good and bad ways I think. I definitely feel stronger as a person, and able to cope with a lot more than I genuinely thought I could, but like I said I have also become quite emotionally detached when really horrible things happen, and just seem to accept them.
I left the Police after 2 years of working there – there were many reasons involved in my decision to leave, but I loved the job, and felt that I made a real difference, which was really important for me. I think part of me will always be in that job, as every time I see a Police car now with the sirens on, or hear something bad has happened in my area, I always think of my colleagues I used to work with and the impact on them as individuals of what has happened.