Police Communications and Joint Emergency Control Rooms

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Police Service Group Conference 2003
2 June 2003
Carried as Amended

Conference recognises the vital importance of effective call handling for the delivery of modern policing. As the main interface between the Service and the general public, it is essential that the Police Service has a modern, efficient and well-resourced call handling capability. This position is well-understood by all the major police stakeholders, particularly the Home Office which needs call handling to work to deliver police reform.

Conference notes that communications operators make up 15% of UNISON’s police staff membership and a similarly large proportion of the police staff establishment. So members who work in call handling are important to us. However, Conference also notes that the recent NOP survey of police staff members showed that members working in call handling:

1)felt least supported by managers over workload pressures;

2)felt less valued than other sections of the workforce;

3)work among the longest hours of all UNISON police members;

4)had seen bigger staffing cuts than other occupational groups;

5)were predominantly staying in the job because of the money rather than because they enjoy the job.

Conference also notes the recommendations of the Bain Review of the Fire Service, particularly the proposals to creation of Multi-Service Control Rooms to jointly serve the needs of the Fire, Police and Ambulance Service. It has been suggested that as apart of the modernisation of the Fire Service, shared or joint Control Rooms are essential.

However, this Conference feels that Police Staff presently employed in Police Control Rooms would instantly lose their identity and soon lose the skills they have been taught, together with the individual expertise, which Police Staff possess.

Conference is alarmed by the unhappy picture that emerges from the NOP survey and the Bain Review. Conference instructs the Executive to undetake some detailed work to establish what lies behind this malaise and what needs to be done to rectify it. In particular, this work should encompass issues such as:

a)pay and benefits;

b)hours/work-life balance;

c)staffing and workloads;

d)management and motivation;

e)control rooms Vs call centres;

f)joint control rooms;

g)a SWOT analysis of police call handling






h)a PESTLE analysis of police call handling








i)a fact finding exercise on any suggestion, plan or proposals to introduce ‘multifunctional’ Emergency Control Room Operator posts or Working practices

Conference instructs the Executive to introduce a strategy for improvements to the working lives of members who work in police communications to benefit members and the service alike and calls upon the SGE to enter into negotiations with employers