Crime reporter Dan Bean goes behind the scenes at North Yorkshire Police’s force control room in Fulford, York.
NORTH Yorkshire Police’s force control room is based in Fulford, but staff there are responsible for co-ordinating police activity over 3,000 square miles of the county, and about 6,000 miles of road.
Call handlers take all 101 and 999 calls in the region, and decide on appropriate responses for each, with immediate incidents, such as ongoing burglaries, robberies, assaults or crashes taking priority.
Chief Inspector Mike Walker said last week’s flooding across the region caused “extensive demand”, with 1,064 non-emergency calls received on Wednesday, compared with the average 721, and 302 emergency calls, compared to an average of 154. He said: “There’s still a huge amount of work behind the scenes which the control room has a large part to play in really.
“With flooding incidents it’s a multi-agency approach all taken care of from here. There aren’t that many other people around in the middle of the night agency-wise, so it mainly falls to the police. We wear a lot of hats.”
Chief Insp Walker said the aim was to “get it right first time”, and ensure resources were allocated correctly for the average 150 incidents being raised at any one time.
He said the force was looking at new training for its control room staff, asking “can we offer more service to victims and can we reduce levels of threat, harm and risk to the public from the work we do in the control room?”
He said: “That’s our concentration at the moment. We want to make sure we treat every call right.
“I’ve been here about two years and I’m very, very proud of the work that the staff do.
“They really do work hard, they are committed but importantly are here to help the public. Otherwise they wouldn’t be the first point of contact.”
The unit is also adopting social media as a tool to reach the public, particularly for live incidents. Through such channels they can help inform the public, and reduce repeat calls.
Chief Insp Walker said: “We like to keep the public informed. If we put something on a tweet, chances are people won’t phone in.
“Twitter and Facebook have helped us find some high profile missing from homes very quickly. We have had farmers in tractors see a tweet and spot someone from the middle of a field, phone in, and we’ve found them very quickly.”
Follow the force control room on Twitter @NYPControlRoom