Honours for police switchboard staff

Staff in the Sussex Police Communications Department were celebrated at an awards ceremony
Staff in the Sussex Police Communications Department were celebrated at an awards ceremony

Call-takers, CCTV operators, controllers and supervisors in Sussex Police’s communications department have been honoured for their hard work and achievements .

An award ceremony was held last week which saw staff sharing their success with family and colleagues as 40 gongs were handed out.

Among those singled out for mention was PC Nick Andrews-Faulkner, who used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to trace a vehicle used in an armed robbery at a convenience store in Barnham.

As a result of his actions, the vehicle was located and stopped by the Tactical Firearms Unit and three men were arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, head of communications for the force, paid tribute to their work.

“Dealing with 999 or 101 calls from the public takes a certain type of person. Callers may be in danger, feeling vulnerable, distressed, concerned or frustrated. Staff answering the phones have to be calm and reassuring, yet fast-thinking and proactive, using sound investigative skills and diligence to get to the heart of the matter quickly and get the correct help for each particular caller,” he said.

“The calls we receive are so varied; our call-takers and CCTV operators deal with armed robberies, suicide attempts, serious traffic collisions, hostage situations, and repeated anti-social behaviour. Thanks to the staff’s instinct, training and hard work, the communications department plays a great part in making Sussex a safer place.”

He said last year Sussex Police’s switchboard received 866,447 non-emergency calls (answering 95.8 per cent) within 30 seconds, and the contact centre received 556,084 calls (answering 73.6 per cent within 60 seconds), as well as handling more than 65,000 e-mails.

Ch Supt Jones added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank staff for their ongoing individual and collective contribution towards making Sussex a safer place. The awards celebrated some first class performance within the Communications Department, with some great personal and team achievements.

“Their efforts and professionalism is further evidenced with excellent year end performance results, which show that Sussex Police received 219,958 emergency 999 calls, answering 96 per cent within ten seconds. This is the ninth year in a row Sussex Police has achieved well over the 90 per cent target answering 999 calls.

“CCTV operators played a significant role in 49,878 incidents within Sussex. Through their vigilance, spotting incidents occurring or looking for suspects, 732 people were arrested, placing us among the best in UK policing.

“These are fantastic achievements for all staff within Comms who have either directly handled calls, resourced incidents or supported staff in these roles and we should be hugely proud of this success.”