How officers are working to be more responsive to you
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Have you ever wondered how officers get sent to the incidents you report to us? Do you know how we make decisions on how best to respond to your 999 calls?
We are taking part in the national policing response week of action, from 26 June to 2 July, to raise awareness of how #responsepolicing officers do what they do, day-in, day-out.
Sarah Brassington, Deputy Head of Force Contact at Staffordshire Police, said: “From the moment you call 999, our call handlers begin an assessment of what you’re calling us about - including the risk to life, risk to the public and any vulnerabilities.
“That’s why it’s really important you stay with us on the phone while we look to allocate the most suitable resources to you.”
There are several options available to control room operators when deciding who best to send to an incident. These include:
Response officers – for incidents that are happening now where there is a high element of risk
Firearms officers – if weapons are reported at the scene
Neighbourhood officers and local PCSOs – if the report is of ongoing local issues
Specialist crime officers – for complex incidents
Investigative officers – for desk based investigations
However, most of the time, it is response officers who are on the frontline; dealing with all types of reported crimes.
When they arrive at a scene, often after using their enhanced driving skills, response officers:
Quickly take control of the situation and liaise with colleagues in the ambulance and fire serviceif appropriate
Assess any immediate risk of harm and decide on the best course of action to keep people and property safe, as well as prevent crime and disorder
Collate and record information, intelligence and evidence to help investigations proceed promptly and effectively.
PC Jack Cotton, who is a local response student officer in East Staffordshire, said: “A big part of our role is also dealing with people including victims, witnesses and suspects, all of whom can be vulnerable, and in some cases, volatile.
“So we have to have good communication skills, be good at reading people and be able to adapt our communication style to suit whoever we’re speaking to.”
Response officers also have to be community-focused, taking the time to understand their patch and get to know local people.
Since the introduction of our new policing model, the force has welcomed a total of 584 new officers from December last year, with 5.3 percent of these from an ethnic minority.
We are also continuing to recruit new officers. Since July 2019, we have recruited more than 800 officers, which has seen our workforce grow from 1,648 operational officers, to 1,926.
Stuart Ellison, Assistant Chief Constable at Staffordshire Police and force lead for local policing and operations, outlined the challenge and the attraction of response policing.
“Response is a really varied police role – the first responder at any incident has a significant responsibility in assessing the scene on arrival, quickly considering any vulnerability and threat and putting the initial actions in motion that will ensure we keep people safe but also gather the evidence to reduce crime. The variety is, for me, a big attraction, but it is also a demanding role because of just that. Our force response team do a tremendous job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and make a real difference in terms of keeping the communities of Staffordshire safe."