There are some times in the control room when, as my old training school drill sergeant used to say, you don’t know whether your backside is drilled, bored or countersunk.
You come in on a night shift expecting the usual fare of jobs left over that the late shift never got round to doing, drunken fights, the occasional RTC, etc, only to find there’s a rape on the go, officers doing scene guards on that, plus all the other stuff. Then twenty minutes into the shift you get a murder & while that’s on the go someone decides to drive into a tree & is likely to die.
This presents you with several problems, most of which are to do with the fact that you only have one pair of ears, one mouth & one keyboard with associated set of fingers to operate it.
One of these jobs alone is enough to keep you fully as entertained as a blue-arsed fly but putting all three together means you will be running around, as my old drill sergeant also used to say, from arsehole to breakfast time.
You become an information sponge. Everything everyone does, when & why, needs to be documented. there are two of you to do this. Everyone wants a major piece of you.
There are so many calls to make on the telephone. People have to be informed, updated, advised & updated again. Different departments are contacted. Outside bodies are consulted, medical examiners, councils, maybe utility companies, friends & family. Everyone involved wants to know the ins & outs of a cat’s arse about every facet of the job. This is fine if you’ve been on the case since the start but a nightmare if you’ve taken over the job halfway through on a change of shift.
While you’re doing all this people are still beating each other up, receiving threatening text messages & having domestics, nothing stops for a major incident or three.
People don’t always understand why you don’t answer their questions straight away & your favourite phrase is "stand by".
You try your best, after all, your sole role is to help. It’s difficult, hectic, frustrating, stressful but sometimes really interesting. It can be really satisfying knowing you’ve played your part especially when the OIC1 gives you a call later to thank you for all your help.
- Officer in the Case [↩]