Inspector's 'human voice' is force's most powerful tool when helping those in need
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An Inspector is one of three officers from Staffordshire Police who work around the clock to provide a listening ear to distressed people who are in their most vulnerable state of mind.
Inspector Jonathan Staite, who joined Staffordshire Police in June 1992, is an on-call negotiator, often called to scenes where people are in distress or having some sort of crisis.
As part of Time To Talk day today (6 February) and encouraging people to talk if struggling from mental health, Jon explains how his role is pivotal in ensuring those at their time in need get their voices heard.
Inspector Jon Staite, originally from Hereford but now lives in Stafford, said: “I’ve always enjoyed talking to people and negotiators are always there to listen and show people that there’s always other options.
“Negotiating is about listening, not talking. Sometimes, we’re the first person that’s shown any care of empathy towards those in need for weeks, months or even years.
“Some of the crisis situations we could be called to range from mental health episodes, a crime that’s gone wrong, kidnap or even extortion.”
Negotiators were involved in approximately 160 incidents involving people in distress and in need last year. A total of 18 officers are trained for such situations and three officers work on an on-call basis to make sure someone is always there.
Jon, who started as a Police Constable in Lichfield, added: “We’re trained to have a lot of emotional intelligence and to show support and resolve situations by using the most powerful thing - a human voice.
“Negotiators can resolve a situation or buy some time and show people there are other options that are less serious or even life threatening.
“The role is fulfilling and you always get immense satisfaction that you’ve had the opportunity to influence someone or help them at their time in need.
“My advice to anyone that’s come across someone in a crisis is to simply introduce yourself, say hello, ask what’s happened, why they’re there and listen.”
There are a number of helplines for anyone struggling, to find out more, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/.
For more information on Time To Talk day, visit: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day.