October 25th, 2008

Dizzy, My Head is Spinning

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Another late turn another mental breakdown.

Bugger me but this week has been busy! late turn in chav-central. I sat down at the start of the shift & checked out the number of Jobs on the box. It was pretty high, much higher than the average the week before.

It started about 20 minutes after I sat down. Non bloody stop. Jobs coming in what seemed like every two minutes, the constant chatter on the radio trying to give jobs out, getting updates in plus all the general requests for this that & the other that I have to do while the broom is well & truly wedged up the rear end.

It was OK though, as I was (unusually) double-crewed. Except for the first 3 hours my partner was  answering 999 calls every few minutes. – Answering 999s is measured in the control room, working on the radio & providing a good service to the officers isn’t, so guess where the communal efforts of the room are channeled?

I had more jobs than I had officers & the first three jobs I sent a unit to ended up being quite complicated. Two of them took up the whole shift so that was a large wedge of my resources gone right at the start. Another one for some reason required the officer to take 5 witness statements, so that was another unit out the game.

The computer system send automatic messages when nothing has happened on a job for a particular time. So if absolutely nothing happened all shift & you had 30 jobs, you’d get a message every 2 minutes reminding you that you’ve not typed any info on the log. Those messages have to be accepted, the log opened & glanced at to remind you what it was, then you have to type on the log the reason nothing has happened, such as “no unit available yet” & then the log gets closed down again. It can take 30 seconds or more just to deal with an automated message. So that’s 25% of every free 2 minutes.

When your’re busy, you also have to pick up all the messages sent by the call takers on every log they update, you have to type on information from the officers on everything they do on each job, all their decisions they make, all their requests.

So when it’s busy, it’s really busy. You are literally non-stop from start to finish. It must be like working in an Air Traffic Control centre.

And two hours into the shift I get told I’m not getting a break for 8 hours! 8 Hours? thanks a bunch! I think I got told sometime that working at a computer screen entitled you to health & safety breaks, I can’t remember what the law says but I think you’re supposed to take a ‘screen break’ of a couple of minutes every so often & a break of 5 minutes from your station every so often. I’m not sure of the legalities of it because I think my force has adopted the one screen break every month & a station break once a year, if they’re not short. Whatever, the only break you get is when you go to the loo (after you’ve put your hand up).

You close logs off with Home Office-approved result codes, this is so they can create their stats. Sometimes you might tick the wrong box in error usually because you’re in a hurry. So it winds the fuck out of me when the supervisors send the bloody logs back for some poxy stupid little amendment which they could have done in 3 seconds just by ticking the right box. Instead, they have to cancel your closing of the log, type a message on it about what’s wrong with it then send it back to my PC, when I’m just trying to stay afloat in a  sea of shit & derision.

I’m thinking about taking my computer & shoving it piece by piece up some bloody supervisors arse on my last day.

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