Jon Bridge – Dispatcher at North Yorkshire Police explains more about the role
Working in the Force Control Room (FCR) is like no other job in the world. You will see things and be involved in things that most people will never be exposed to. Your role is a crucial piece of the policing jigsaw and without it, residents of North Yorkshire and anyone passing through wouldn’t get the help they required from the police in their time of need. You need to be able to remain calm and focussed under pressure, have excellent attention to detail and be able to multi-task under pressure.
I love everything about my job! I have been a dispatcher for over 18 years and no two days are ever the same. One minute you can be coordinating police resources to locate a burglar, the next minute you could be directing officers to force entry into a property to literally save the life of the occupant who has fallen inside.
When you join the FCR, there is a lot to learn. From the language we speak to the ICT systems we use and the policies and procedures we have to follow. The initial training and support you receive is absolutely first class. We have a purpose-built training wing and as someone who also works as a trainer, I can confidently say that we all have a genuine passion for the job and will work hard to ensure you get the best training possible.
When you join the FCR as a dispatcher, you will start a 17 week course guiding you through every aspect of the job to ensure you’re always ready to move onto the next stage. Once you have successfully completed training, you will be assigned to a band (area) and start your dispatching career in the team. Don’t worry though, we don’t just forget you at that point – we will ensure that you always have an experienced member of the team to turn to for advice and reassurance whenever you need it. After 18 years I don’t claim to know everything so you can see very clearly, the learning never stops!
I don’t find any aspect of my job especially difficult but it can be very frustrating when you have outstanding calls for service and in an ideal world, you’d love to be able to send an officer quickly to help the caller but there simply isn’t anyone available. It’s no secret that police resources are stretched so it puts even more pressure on you as a dispatcher to ensure you’re making the best possible use of the resources you have available.
Working as a dispatcher, you will be making an impact on someone’s life every single day. I can’t think of any other job where you will form part of a team responsible for getting someone arrested or helping someone intent on taking their own life. It is very much a team role and the training means everyone in the FCR is capable and confident in knowing exactly what they need to do in order to give the best possible service to our communities.
One of my proudest moments was receiving a police commendation for work we did surrounding terrorist attacks – a day I’ll never forget.
If I had to describe my job in three words, I’d say: exciting and life-changing. It will change your life by doing it and you will save other people’s lives too.
If you’re thinking about becoming a dispatcher, it is a massive commitment to learning and particularly if you have no previous experience of policing – there is a lot of new stuff to understand. That said, if you’re prepared to make the commitment I am confident you won’t regret it.