Archive for September 3rd, 2010

September 3rd, 2010

Basics

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Our call-takers are a constant source of amusement & frustration.

They are responsible for taking the calls from the public then filtering & distilling the information into a computer log which leads the way Me & my officers deal with an incident.

There are some pretty essential constants we, as controllers & subsequently officers, need to know with almost every job; the location we need to send the officer to is pretty key, who we need to see when we get there & where they are is also important, we also like descriptions of the offenders, what they look like,  where they are or where they are heading.

If the call-takers took these simple bits of info on every call our lives would be easier.

If only.

The problem is that this type of information is omitted so often that it is not surprising or unusual to have basic detail missed off a log.

This means we either have to send an electronic message back to the call-taker asking for the missing info, or we have to ring the informant back ourselves – which, quite often, is faster &  simpler but takes us away from what we should be doing.

Quite often it’s the same people who make the same omissions, time & time again. One wonders what their supervisors do when they are made aware of continuing problems because sorting it out doesn’t appear to be on the list.

And some of them have several years’ service, you’d have thought they’d have grasped the principle by now.

I had a job today where someone called in to say their house had been burgled & their car had been stolen.

Name, telephone number &  address of informant – check. Location of burglary informant – check. Details of car – er…

When a car is nicked, we need to put a stolen report on the Police National Computer so that if it is seen or goes through an ANPR camera it comes up as stolen  & we have a fighting chance of getting it back  & arresting someone. It might even be driving off from the burglary while officers are driving to the scene, but if we don’t know the registration plate let alone what type of car it is what chance have they got of spotting it?

As it turned out I couldn’t assign the burglary for a while as we had all our officers tied up at domestics, so a quick message to the call-taker asking if she took vehicle details was met, 15 minutes later, with the response that they’d tried to call the victim back  to get the details (because they forgot to ask the first time) but couldnt get a reply. The car could be driving up &  down the police station car park for the next 2 hours & nobody would know it was nicked.

I had another call this week. A gamekeeper was reporting youths setting fire to a car out in the rural area. The location was a forest, not one of the proportions of the New Forest or something out on the wilds of Yorkshire, but the forest was actually bigger than the town it was outside.

I kid you not, the location the call-takers had given for where the offenders were setting light to the car was “in the forest, near some trees”.