Staff and officers were celebrated for their acts of bravery and compassion at an awards ceremony.
On Friday 14 June, the Force's Contact, Command and Control Department (FCCCD) were recognised for going above and beyond to serve the public in Sussex.
The ‘Heroes with Headsets’ award recipients were joined by esteemed guests the High Sheriff of East Sussex Mrs Violet Hancock, High Sheriff of West Sussex Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark and Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller.
Kelly Goodwin was awarded a Certificate of Merit for the role she played when she answered a call from someone who was barely able to speak and appeared to require medical assistance. Despite very limited information, Kelly persevered by asking the caller systematic questions and managed to determine their location from their mumbled answers. A response unit was dispatched, who had to force entry to the property, and found the caller was having a severe life-changing stroke. Kelly was commended for her diligence and determination to assist someone in need.
Jess Tyler was recognised for her role when she answered a call from a woman reporting a sexual assault on her daughter. The officer who investigated the offences was impressed with the way Jess spoke to the very young victim and witness, pitching the call at the right level. Her actions contributed to a positive outcome; a man was charged with this assault and a number of other similar offences.
Natalie Brooker was awarded for her response when she took a call from a man saying that he was armed, suicidal, and wanted the police to shoot and kill him. In very challenging circumstances, Natalie kept the man calm, managing to gain information on his location and emotional state. She was able to keep him on the line, remaining calm and controlled while being empathetic and the information she gained resulted in the man being successfully located and detained without injury.
Adam Buchanan was presented a certificate for his dealing with a distressed man threatening to end his life. Adam was congratulated for keeping calm to enable building a rapport with the caller, keeping him on the line until officers arrived to assist. The certificate was in recognition of his dedication and skill in handling this delicate situation ensured the caller was listened to and kept safe.
Hannah Morley-Pullen received a 999 call from a previous persistent caller about a problem with her door. During the call, the caller left the phone as her son entered the property but Hannah stayed on the call, capturing the verbal assault the lady received from her son and subsequently unit was despatched. Using the call recording as evidence, the son received a caution for the abuse of his vulnerable parent. Hannah was commended and recognised for her diligence and customer service.
The great flexibility of Charlotte Bolton in her approach to work was also recognised, in particular for a period earlier this year where the workload was high and there were a number of serious incidents. Charlotte was commended and recognised for her professionalism and diligence in dealing with these significant incidents, and keeping the public safe.
PC Tracy Cox was recognised for her role in the Investigations and Resolution Centre where she linked a series of vehicle breaks, identified other offences in the same time frame and with the same MO, gathering evidence for each offence. The offender had been arrested and has since been linked to various other offences which are being considered by the CPS. Tracy was thanked for her diligence which enabled these crimes to be investigated and the victims to receive outstanding customer service.
A team award was presented to Angela Allchin, Donna Didcote, Michael Meny-Gilbert, Matthew Hurren and Abi Wares who were commended for their professionalism and positivity while working tirelessly to provide initial training and tutoring to six large cohorts of new staff, creating a new training package for contact handlers, and organising 999 training for all staff. They also played a vital role in large recruitment campaigns and delivering induction days, often after a busy shift or at weekends, providing the department with over 100 new contact handlers.
Glen Ryder’s commitment to his new role as Acting Supervisor was acknowledged and commended. The support and guidance he gives to his team and other sections, especially on 101 and non-voice contact, is above and beyond his role. His knowledge and experience has made him the ‘go to’ person for any advice and he also assists the non-voice workload to support the contact handlers.
Over the past two years, Aaron Berry And Jane Thompson have tirelessly co-designed and delivered a new and bespoke two-week controllers course. Both were instrumental in its planning and delivery including its adaption and development from feedback received. Their commitment and support in developing the Controller role was commended.
Nigel Rogers was presented with a special award for his commitment to supporting the wider 101 demands placed upon Sussex Police including providing solutions to try to manage this demand. Nigel is a vital member of the team and was recognised for his commitment, tenacity and curiosity in trying to make a difference to the public of Sussex.
Closing the ceremony, ACC Dave Miller said: “It has been a huge privilege to be here and hear of these acts of bravery, compassion, going above and beyond your roles in so many ways to ensure we serve the people of Sussex. You are the frontline, the first point of contact that so many people will have when they are in times of need or distress. The awards presented show the breadth of what you do day in, day out. Well done.”
Read here to find out more about being a contact handler.