All you need to know about the role of a communications officer controller (dispatch) in the force control room
Communications officer controllers are more commonly referred to as ‘dispatchers’ and their role in a nutshell involves looking at a list of incidents (mostly calls from the public dealt with by Communications Officers) and allocating available resources to coordinate a response to deal with those incidents.
The ability to multi-task is probably the most important as dispatchers might need to handle several incidents at once, identify risk and select the most appropriate resources for dealing with them. Plus, incidents are coming in all of the time so you’ll need to be a quick-thinker, good at making decisions under pressure and have robust conviction in those decisions too. What specific training or experience do I need to be a dispatcher?
You don’t need to have any specific training or experience as all of our new recruits undergo a rigorous 17 week training schedule and there is plenty of ongoing development and support too. The job of a dispatcher is one which requires a very particular sort of person with the skills outlined above so a natural aptitude is much more important than any past roles or experience.
You will receive an initial four weeks of communications training which will equip you with the skills to deal with 999 and 101 calls. You will then spend three weeks taking 999 calls with a tutor alongside you. Next, you will undergo three weeks of specific ‘dispatch’ training which upskills your communications training to the additional skills you will need as a dispatcher. Once you’re deemed to reach a minimum standard of competency, you’ll then do seven weeks of tutorship and this means taking calls and dealing with incidents, with the support of a team of tutors.
We’ve invested a lot of time and innovation in the training packages delivered to new starters and this has all been done in collaboration with the team working in the FCR. All training is delivered in-house so there’s a very high chance that those doing the training are current Communications Officers and Dispatchers themselves.
After your 17 weeks of training, you are definitely not on your own! You are always fully supported by a team of colleagues who are on hand to answer any questions or simply to help you unwind after a difficult incident.
Look for vacancies on our recruitment website - you can register for alerts and we'll get in touch when the next round of recruitment launches.
You'll fill in an online application form followed by a competency-based interview and micro exercises which are designed to assess whether you have the core skills needed for the role.
We will equip you with the skills and tools you need to do the job, you just need to bring the right attitude and right character. If you read the job description and immediately knew it wasn’t for you then it’s probably not the right role to suit your skills and personality, but if you read it and felt inspired – then please apply!
It is a highly pressured job but you will always be fully supported by your team and never alone. Working in the FCR puts you right at the heart of policing and gives you a unique and exciting opportunity to help people across the county.