November 23rd, 2011

200 Weeks top tips for a happy life

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

It may seem sometimes that I whinge all the time about officers I’m controlling. I must say that these are generally the exceptions and most are reasonably hard working, decent officers.

To redress the balance I’d like to point out that I have worked with – and continue to work with – a few controllers who are nightmares too.

So here’s some of 200 Weeks top tips for a happy controlling life.

- being a police officer and dealing with muppets on the street is a difficult enough job without dealing with muppets in the control room.

- most officers do not start their day with the intention of making the controller’s life difficult, you should reciprocate.

- when the mind is occupied with digesting the details of the job you just gave them, driving like a looney and wondering what fate might meet them on arrival, it is easy to forget the address. So, when they ask for the third time what address theyre going to, just tell them. It takes twice as much effort and time to say “as already stated, 10 High Street”, or “for the third time, 10 High Street”,  as it does to say “10 High Street” and causes much less stress, to both parties.

- the job of a controller is to make police officer’s work easier, not the other way around.

- is it more important to stick slavishly to protocol and decline to do something which might take you 30 seconds rather than refuse and take a unit off the road for twenty?

- officers don’t generally call up to make your life a misery. Before you answer them try not to say “oh what the fuck does he want now?” because after the twentieth time it gets a bit wearing on the other controllers who have to put up with it all day.

- if someone asks a stupid question, it’s probably best just to answer it than to speak in a manner which makes you sound superior and cleverer than they are.

- we all moan and whinge from time to time but doing it non-stop from the start of the shift until the end just pisses your colleagues off.

- if you say to an officer you’ll do something, then try to do it rather than just say ‘oh bollocks, I’m not doing that’ and leave the officer with the impression it’s being done.

- if you make a mistake or forget something, just admit it and say sorry, bullshit rarely succeeds.

- try to get into work at least 5 minutes before the hour because the people you’re reliving did a minimum of that and probably double that, and the people who relieve you will do it also, if that means getting in and taking over before making your cup of tea then bloody-well wait for the tea!

So there we have it, some top tips to some of my control room colleagues. Most of us might do one of the above from time to time but some controllers have made an art of doing them all, at the same time, and it’s a bloody nightmare working with them.

If any readers would like to add a few more (and get your own back) feel free.


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  1. ExRAD says:

    If you’re double crewed in the control room and you’re in the number two spot, listen to the radio, type all the updates, make all the phone calls, liaise with everyone, and leave your partner free to control the incidents :)

    November 24th, 2011 at 07:12

  2. shijuro says:

    “officers don’t generally call up to make your life a misery. Before you answer them try not to say “oh what the fuck does he want now?”

    Never a good idea…I did it once as I rolled my chair wheel over the transmit pedal and set it out over the air…


    Still… it’s a living…

    November 24th, 2011 at 10:13

  3. Paul says:

    I have to say my pet hate is people who shout/raise their voice either on the radio or taking 999 calls from the public.

    What does all this ‘LISTEN TO ME, DON’T SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT’ nonsense achieve. If you’re speaking to someone who is ranting on… just let them do it and wait till they stop…

    Equally the controllers who talk to the Police Officers in a snappy, condescending way… just cool it.. and remain professional.

    November 24th, 2011 at 10:14

  4. fastbecomingcynical says:

    200…I did a shift in the control room last week covering for a particular operation. Day to day i am one of those (as you put it) gucci clad officers who can leave much of the day to day nonsense the police put up with to the shift lads and lasses. Anyway (i digress) the shift i did opened my eyes to the constant crap that comes to all controllers and the amount of work required just to keep afloat with the run of the mill stuff (let alone the added pressure of pursuits and silver controls!). I think if most bobbies saw what actually happened in the control room they would appreciate you all a lot more. As it happened the following day i bought a mountain of cream cakes in for the control room shift as a thank you!

    November 24th, 2011 at 10:17

  5. Jimbo Jones says:

    I’ve only recently seen the control room and the attitude and actions of the control room staff baffle me. They cause more problems than they solve and end up winding the callers up, even the nice ones who genuinly need our help and have never called police before.

    My tip. Remember not all your callers are regular callers acting up again. Be a bit more “customer friendly” and you’ll find you get further with less hassle and attitude from your caller.

    November 24th, 2011 at 11:03

  6. Civ_In_The_City says:

    I`ve not done your job 200. I have overheard controllers when I`ve been in their vicinity, and overheard one when I`ve been in another part of the same building.

    When I did my induction we were told that we should always be careful before jumping to conclusions about the people we might pass in the building. If they look grumpy, or pissed off, or upset. Working with the public can drive the sanest of us to our limits.

    I work near the Control room, I know some of the things police officers have to deal with, so I can start to imagine how harrowing some of it might be for the controller as well. It might even be worse as you might to get to ‘see’ an incident from all the various sides.

    Air-traffic controllers get a break every 30 mins don`t they? And, as you`ve described here, some forces don`t allow for wee breaks for their controllers.

    From my sofa I`d hope that I could treat every single enquiry over the air as if it`s the first of the say, even the calls for info to be repeated. You have to act a bit like an information relay machine. If it`s asked for, it`s needed. It isn`t for the controller to second guess the person requesting. But then, I do have a very comfy sofa here. And I`m the first to mumble ‘FFS’ when the phone rings for the umpteenth time.

    p.s. Have you had any reactions to the upcoming strike? You don`t have to say if you`re in the Union etc. Interested in your views and those you`ve heard?

    November 24th, 2011 at 21:32

  7. a says:

    I always used to grimace when we knew a certain shift was going to be coming in at 06:59:56AM, the words early stand down had never been said to them. Considering for the half a decade I was in there I would arrive at least 15 mins before the shift and take over.

    I’m on the other side of the radio now and am regularly shocked and dismayed with some of the controllers who spend more time telling people to stand by and shut up than it would to deal with it.

    Don’t even get me started on the bizarre practices across my force, we are always doubled if not tripled up on one talkgroup – everywhere has different ways of working.

    November 24th, 2011 at 23:55

  8. grumps147 says:

    “shijuro says:

    “officers don’t generally call up to make your life a misery. Before you answer them try not to say “oh what the fuck does he want now?”

    Never a good idea…I did it once as I rolled my chair wheel over the transmit pedal and set it out over the air…


    The answers simple 200 weeks, the officer wants the operator to do their job and give them assistance, if the operator cannot do that without moaning constantly (I will accept anyone can have a bad day), then go away and lets recruit some who wants to do the job.

    November 25th, 2011 at 15:50

  9. Lilly lady says:

    Pet hate – controllers who pretend to be able to read maps when they can’t. Well I suppose that includes some officers too!

    November 26th, 2011 at 00:57

  10. Norn Iron says:

    Probably more of a problem over here, but anyway:

    Controllers who send you to dangerous areas to dubious calls which could be a trap, but then don’t answer the radio when the crew calls numerous times.

    Controllers who grade a suicidal 15 year old missing person who phoned his care home telling them he’s on the edge of a jetty on a lake about to jump as a ‘low risk misper’.

    Pet hate: controllers who send you to stuff that you know they could have written off in a minute long phone call.

    *and breathe*

    P.s. i’m comms trained and do the odd shift when they are low. My main role is response. I try not to fulfill the stereotypes above but I know i’m not perfect.

    November 26th, 2011 at 18:09

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