Working as a Police Control Room Operator (PCRO)

A day in the life of...

I joined this job due to having a lifelong fascination with the law and criminal justice and also working with various organisations to help improve people’s lives through working to change legislation. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fulfil my ambitions of becoming a lawyer so this was the next best thing.
I’ve dealt with a few memorable calls, but the ones that stick in my mind are reuniting someone with their handbag that contained a large amount of money and all their documentation.

Also, as an example, a call might come in in the early hours of the morning where someone reports intruders in their house. We get there and take care of business. To those people, we make a difference.

Our working environment is very much a kaleidoscope. But, putting all pressures aside, I do enjoy what I do.

Jo, Police Control Room Operator, Contact Management

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I’ve been working as a Police Control Room Operator for about seven years, having started as agency staff after deciding that teaching wasn’t the career for me.

I’d had a previous taste of Lancashire Constabulary after I left University, when I worked as an interview summariser at Lancaster Police Station, during which time I was seconded to transcribing witness interviews from the investigation into the Morecambe Bay cockle-picking disaster.

My role today at the Constabulary varies from answering telephone and e-mail enquiries from the public, through to taking reports of incidents on the non-emergency and 999 systems, to dispatching officers to incidents via the radio.

I enjoy the variety of calls we receive and it’s never a predictable job, meaning you have to be able to think on your feet.

A few months ago, I recalled a silent 999 call which initially sounded like a mobile going off in someone’s pocket, only to spend the next thirty minutes speaking to a young man who had taken an overdose. I used maps and communication skills to coax a location out of him so that officers and colleagues in the ambulance service could help him.

Although it can be a tough job, and sometimes the people we help don’t appreciate it as well as perhaps they should, it is a very rewarding role when you know you’ve made a positive difference.

Richard, Police Control Room Operator, Contact Management

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I’ve worked for Lancashire Constabulary with a couple of hats on over the years.  I’ve volunteered as a Special Constable in Preston for over 15 years. 

I did this alongside my current role in Contact Management.  I found that the two roles really complemented each other, particularly when it came to procedures and law.

I knew after my first week in Contact Management that this was the job for me.  The variety of the work and that priceless feeling most jobs don’t really give you: genuine satisfaction.  You never know what the next incident is going to be that you’re involved with.  You might have a job that needs a lot of behind the scenes work and is mainly done is slow time.  Next minute, there’s a really big job on our hands and we’re deploying officers to crimes in progress and that needs a whole different level of skills. 

I remember a few times coming off the radio when I was involved in some high level jobs and my legs were physically shaking from the adrenalin.  But, what a sense of achievement knowing that I’d been integral to the overall police response.

I’m a Team Leader now.  My role is very different as I have more of an operational overview of day-to-day policing and a lot of my time is spent looking after my team.  Promotion is very achievable in Contact Management.  You need to be a good team worker and able to juggle lots of things at the same time.  It’s never a dull day.

Pete, Team Leader, Contact Management


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