You work with a wide variety of people in the control room. We usually work in teams and within the team we work in pairs, usually a ‘controller’ who does the talking on the radio and a ‘not controller’ who does all the updating of incident logs, makes & takes telephone calls and other stuff. the mood of your partner can really effect what sort of day you have, often more so than the amount and type of work you actually do that day.
I worked with Gail this week. I can’t work her out really. She’s on another shift but often covers our shift. She’s in her late 30s or maybe just reached 40. I’m told she’s been divorced three times & one of the marriages didn’t last 5 months. Some people describe her as neurotic, others as highly-strung, but I’m not really sure what ‘highly-strung’ means. She’s looking for something in life & hasn’t found it yet, I’m not sure she knows what it is she’s looking for but I’m told a few PCs have tried to help her find it in the last couple of years, one or two of them are married, apparently.
She cries a lot.
There’s a fair amount of crying goes on within our control room. I’m a six-foot plus hairy-arsed copper so I don’t really understand this crying business but I know that, so far, it’s exclusively a female thing, officers and civilians.
It can be really busy and extremely stressful at times. I don’t think many officers appreciate it, they tend to say things like, well you should see the stress when someone’s trying to bash a bottle over your head & stuff like that. They forget I’ve been there & done that. Sometimes I wish they could come inside and try my job for an evening, just to even it out a bit. OK, it’s a different type of stress but it’s still stress.
Gail cried today, several times. She said something about not being able to cope as it was so busy, tempers between her & the guys on the street were a little frayed, as they can be from time to time. Some people forget we’re actually in the same job.
The answer was to take Gail off the channel for a while, get her a cup of tea, give her a break, which is great. That doesn’t work for long & the next time she cries she’s sent home.
So it’s too busy & stressful for two people to run the channel without someone having a nervous breakdown, but not too busy to remove one of the team of two and let the one left – me, carry on for the rest of the shift on their own, doing the work of both operators.
You work with some people & you spend the day having a laugh & getting the job done, you walk out with your head spinning but you know you provided a decent service to the guys & gals on the street. You work with others & by the end of the shift you just want to slash your wrists.
Anyone got a razorblade?