Force Contact officers work within an extremely busy and fast-paced team; working shifts over a 24-hour period, 365 days a year and answer all emergency 999 calls and non-emergency 101 calls, as well as deploying resources to police incidents across Cleveland.
The Force received 340,000 calls for service last year.
Force Contact Officer Nicola Raw has worked for Cleveland Police for two years after previously working as a schoolteacher for 25 years.
Nicola is a mum of two, who fancied a change of career and was seeking a better work life balance when she successfully applied for the Force Contact Officer role.
When asked what she enjoys the most about the job, Nicola said: “Each day is completely different, no two jobs are the same and this keeps the job interesting.
“Some days I will be dedicated to 999 calls, and others it will be 101 calls, emailed crimes, or a mixture. Each aspect of the role requires different skills, and there are different systems you must be trained in to enable you to do the job properly.”
Each role within Cleveland Police comes with its challenges and when asked what Nicola, from East Cleveland, found the most challenging, she said: “Working as a teacher for so many years meant I felt comfortable within my skill set but the change in role meant I have had to become knowledgeable in new areas and practices. Becoming familiar with locations and roads that I had little or no prior experience of, was one of the biggest challenges for me. Members of the public also often use their own local “lingo” which sometimes needs clarification.
“When I first started if I spoke to people in Hartlepool they would give me a description and say someone was wearing a ‘dut’ which is a hat. I had never heard of this before coming here. Being in this role, you soon learn that you need to have the confidence to ask people exactly what they mean, even asking people to spell out names and addresses if you are unsure as being accurate is key to this role.”
Speaking of other challenges in the role, Nicola added: “We get lots of people calling 999 when there isn’t an emergency to report. Once, I had someone call to report that they were in a supermarket car park and there was a fox there. Calls of this nature take up our resources and can prevent a real emergency from being called into the team.
“On the other end of the spectrum, we get many calls from people who are suicidal which can be difficult calls to handle.
“The job is made worthwhile when you help people who are suffering in a difficult time in their life, and when you help them, some people even go out of their way to thank you for your time, and this is a really rewarding part of the role.
“The main reason I want to do this job and enjoy doing it so much is because I want to help people and working in this role, you are doing that on every shift.”
When asked what she would say to someone who is thinking of joining the Force Control Room team, Nicola said: “Give it a go, you don’t know if you are going to enjoy something until you try it.
“The FCR team is unlike any team that I have worked in before, everyone goes above and beyond to help each other and the public; it is a great team to work with and you have the added bonus of helping people in their time of need.”
The Force is not currently recruiting for staff in Control Room at the moment but often there are new intakes into the team. Please keep an eye on the vacancies section of the website and social media: Current vacancies | Cleveland Police
People can also sign up to the job alerts which will notify you when job vacancies become live.