Archive for November 1st, 2011

November 1st, 2011

Trick or treat?

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Well I came back down to earth with a bump this week.

A lovely well-earned break from work with my family, relaxing, drinking, walking, pleasant surroundings, friendly people and much fun, and then get to work on Halloween and spend ten hours fire-fighting jobs we can’t attend.

A couple of  Halloweens ago, they decided to have a specific anti-social behaviour channel. Muggins got the gig which meant dealing with all the antisocial behaviour jobs across 50% of the whole force. The big idea was instead of having all the extra jobs you get at Halloween – and there are hundreds & hundreds – spread across 6 or 7 divisions, they lump them on to one radio controller and an assistant.

It was probably the most stressful shift in the control room I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many, many fatal RTCs, rapes and murders & serious assaults to deal with. I was run completely ragged. It was not aided by the fact that my ‘assistant’ was someone from the antisocial behaviour team who didn’t have much experience of radio work, didn’t have access to all the functions of the command and control system and was pretty much out of their depth.

It was absolutely non-stop and having to keep a handle on hundreds of jobs across half the force area was completely impossible. The supervisors had a handle on it though, when one of the divisions had a serious incident to deal with, the supervisors thought it best to keep the resources dealing with that job on the local divisional channel and send all the other units in that division onto the antisocial behaviour channel to carry out all their normal jobs. When the supervisor came over to tell me this is what they’d done my response was a simple “you’re having a fucking laugh”. Apparently they weren’t but as it happened none of them could get on the radio anyway because the airwaves were pretty much being used 100% of the evening.

Fortunately, this year I didn’t get the ASB radio channel and was on a normal division. It didn’t make the divisional channel any less busy, when I finished the shift we had over 150% more jobs on the system than we normally do.

It meant that coming in the day after Halloween we were so backed up with old jobs and all the usual stuff coming in that by the end of play we still had more jobs on the system than we did at the same time on Halloween and the last 2 hours of the shift were spent telling people why we hadn’t been able to see them, again.