Behind the scenes of the police communications department

By Contributor in Crime

THE third behind the scenes instalment by Devon and Cornwall Police has been released — and shows what the communications department has to deal with on a day to day basis.

The video by the police force puts the spotlight on the Contact Management and Communications Unit (CMCU) in Devon and Cornwall and Force Command Centre in Dorset. As the gateway for the public to reach the police, and at the same time the team that allocates officers to respond, these contact centres are at the frontline of policing.

But, the men and women who work in the contact centres, have to contend with a range of questions on a day to day basis, as described in the Q and A session below.

Q: ‘Do people genuinely call the police about things that are nothing to do with them?’

A: ‘We’re afraid they do. Devon and Cornwall Police have been called by someone complaining about a lack of toilet paper in public lavatories and Dorset Police has been asked what time the bus would arrive. There are more examples like this and they are quite extreme, but what we ask is that you first ThinkBeforeYouCall and then if you can to ClickB4UCall.’

Q: ‘Can I ask a question through the 101 service?’

A: ‘You can, although we would ask you to look first at our AskNED non-emergency directory (in Devon and Cornwall) or look through the website for your answers first, and use the 101 email address if you can. Alternatively, you can use LiveChat (in Devon and Cornwall) when it is available (a widget will appear on the home page of the website when it is). LiveChat also connects to the contact centre.’

Q: ‘What if I’m not sure that what I’m asking about is a police matter?’

A: ‘We ask that you think before you call.

Q: ‘How busy is it in the contact centres?’

A: ‘Two contact centres in Devon and Cornwall – one at Police HQ in Exeter and one in Plymouth – receive 500 – 800 emergency (999) calls every day and 2,000 – 2,500 non-emergency calls via 101.’

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