In an emergency always call 999

A Night on the 999s

Posted on 7th April 2018

On Friday, April 6, members of our Communications and Engagement team spent an evening in the force’s 999 and 101 contact centre.

Here is their account of the experience:

Derbyshire Constabulary’s Contact Management Centre takes around 2,000 calls every day. That’s 85 per hour; 735,000 a year.

Each of the staff we spoke to have tales of triumph and – of course – of woe.

The recurring themes across our interviews and conversations were teamwork and camaraderie. It’s clearly there in abundance.

There’s a sense that the staff need to look out for each other, because this job can be hard.

Abuse being yelled down the phone is clearly commonplace, though it’s not tolerated.

And succeeding in answering 999 calls within seven seconds is quite an achievement bearing up the clogging up of lines with erroneous calls such as noisy neighbours, lost keys and – incredibly – ‘I’ve missed my bus’.

When you’re making critical live decisions about where to place your finite resources, time-wasting like that really isn’t helpful.

The work down here is certainly varied, meanwhile

Some of what came in is exactly what you’d expect: unsuspicious deaths, threatening behaviour, burglaries, missing persons, fights and domestic incidents.

Then there’s the slightly more quirky, such as sheep in the road, discovery of a cannabis grow and – would you believe – a stolen cat.

Alongside the minute-by-minute, those on shift are always - of course - on high alert for any possible major incident. Thankfully, there were none during our visit.

Thank you to the contact centre team for having us and being so accommodating. You’re doing a brilliant job.

The content from the evening in full is available on Twitter using #NightOnThe999s:

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.