Archive for March 5th, 2011

March 5th, 2011

Here we go

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Four years ago the chief constable said in an internal memo to all staff words along the lines ‘there will be no occasion when any radio channel is single crewed’. This was because the troops were complaining that when the channels were single crewed they got a much diminished service because √ā¬†one person can only do one thing, and if they are doing something other than answering the radio, they can’t answer the radio. Most front line officers seem to forget that though we are not talking on the radio, that does not mean we are sitting on our arses surfing the ‘net & hanging on every crackle the radio makes. Double crewing means enhanced officer safety; there is always someone available to assist on this end of the radio if they get into trouble.

Within a year, they decided that single crewing radio channels was completely acceptable. We thus provided a piss poor service to officers on the street & the people out there who are relying on us to provide some kind of assistance in the form of a fully√ā¬†briefed√ā¬†police officer arriving on their doorstep. The chief constable’s support for double-crewed radio channels was strangely absent, apparently officers can be just as safe while the radio operator is having a piss & someone in a different part of the county is covering your channel & their own, or you’re engaged in a conversation √ā¬†on the telephone.

Someone in the money-saving department decided it would be a good idea to save even more money by cutting down on the number of radio channels. So where you would have had two towns with 4 radio operators, it was considered safe to have double the amount of officers & workload on one channel with 3 radio operators; one less staff. It worked OK during the trial √ā¬†between 3 & 6 in the morning when many fewer people dialled 999, half the officers were inside dealing with everyone they’d arrested throughout the night & fewer people needed radio coverage.

By some twisted logic, the money-saver department ruled that if it works OK at 4 in the morning it must work equally well at 1 in the afternoon or 9 or 11 at night.

If you recall some of my earlier posts about what happens on a busy late shift, or two, then imagine what it’s like doing double the work with 75% of the staff.

I spoke to 2 radio operators today who are now looking for other employment & three, who officially hate coming to work & that was just amongst the six staff who sit nearest to me.

And rumours abound that they are looking to cut more staff which means an increase in workload that most people are having a real struggle to cope with. Two people walked out this week, unable to cope with the pressure & stress. I found out this week that at least two forces not far from us give their radio operators a break every two hours. We regularly sit for 7 or 8 hours before getting our one break in a 10 hour shift.

So, any officers out there happy with the service their control room is providing?