Mention in Dispatches

A shout out to my Controllers…..

“Mate I’ve got no one to send you… but I have you on CCTV and I will monitor you and your neighbour till I can get stations to you… as soon as I can..”

Simple words through my earpiece at a chaotic scene where my neighbour and I were in a little bit of bother… they made a big difference to me at the time. Cooly delivered, they got me taking a breath and reassessing.. ‘Yeah we’ve got this…’

Dispatchers, Controllers, whatever you call them in your force, the good ones are simply worth their weight in gold. I have been lucky over the years to have been looked after by some great ones (and lets get straight to the point – that’s what they do, look after us). I have two at the moment that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Lets take a couple of highlights for me:

  • Calmly dispatching multiple units from across the Division to attend urgent assistance calls, all the while speaking to the station requesting assistance and reassuring them that cars are on the way…
  • Coordinating the initial search pattern for high risk missing persons based off the maps on their screen and some rudimentary guidance from us on the road with no map in front of us..
  • Finding missing persons from their control screen and phone though getting a number from systems checks and getting hold of the misper, all the while still dispatching!

Really high class, genuinely life saving stuff.

But its the day to day work as well that we simply couldn’t do without. I chatted to my cops about this not too long ago and they were a little surprised how much interaction the Sergeants had with our controllers on a daily basis. My controllers are experts at:

  • Call prioritisation. “Sarge this is pish I am going to downgrade it if that’s okay with you.” or conversely “Sarge this has been sitting for a while but I’m not happy with it, can I get you to take a look for me and see what you think?” (Which invariably involves me quietly swearing to myself and politely asking for a car to be dispatched!).
  • Resource Management. My controllers do the above while they manage the whole Division. Multiple sub divisions, 50-70+ assets (conservatively) of varying types. Multiple ‘risk’ incidents. Their ability to juggle this flawlessly is truly impressive.
  • Value Adding. Despite the resources needing to be managed they are still somehow able to proactively run multiple checks for cops, call complainers to get more info, point to point officers that want to chat, liase with service overview…. and still answer the radio in seconds for a station shouting up.

They do all of this while still having a laugh with us when we speak them on the phone & laughing with cops on the radio at the more bizarre calls we attend (and the witty banter of my shift!). I reckon I must speak to them over a dozen times a shift on the phone alone. They are an indispensible part of our team.

We send all our probationers to meet them  (taking cakes of course) and I love the key bit of advice they give every single one:

“All you need to do if you get in trouble is tell us where you are, we will take care of the rest.”

So a quick shout out to my excellent controllers and to controllers / dispatchers everywhere. You are very much appreciated!

We couldn’t do the job without you.


Author: West Coast Response

I'm a Police Sergeant here on the West Coast of Scotland. I love the job and the folk that do it. I enjoy polite debate on policing and criminal justice and am particularly interested in the practical impact of policing policy, police leadership & making the job better for frontline officers.

One thought on “Mention in Dispatches”

  1. On the money once again with this one! That well known voice over the radio can be very reassuring and their amazing ability to assess the situation merely by the tone of the cops voice. Having recently spent just 1 hour sitting at a control desk in the govan ACR watching and learning I was utterly amazed at the sheer expertise and professionalism of what they do. I have since stopped cursing them just as much 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

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