Public Service Centre operators
Responsive round the clock, the Public Service Centre (PSC) is at the very heart of our work and operations. Our staff are the first point of contact for our organisation, and it is at this stage that our staff can positively influence the overall experience people have of the service provided by South Wales Police.
The PSC is responsible for dealing with all incoming emergency and non-emergency contacts from the public, and the work is both rewarding and essential to safeguarding the communities of South Wales. The PSC takes more than 2,000 contacts a day, including serious crime, sudden deaths, traffic collisions and missing vulnerable persons. No two calls are ever quite the same.
You will need to understand the importance of providing a good quality and prompt service to customers. In return, you will experience an immensely satisfying job by making a significant contribution to safeguarding the communities of South Wales. If you are a good listener and able to make decisions quickly then this may be the role for you.
Within the PSC we operate collaboratively, sharing a control room with colleagues from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Ambulance control is also situated within the room, which is staffed with ambulance personnel who provide advice and guidance to our staff. We also have nurses within the room who can assess and triage any concerns relating to emotional and psychological wellbeing to offer advice to staff.
A team of police officers who are also based in the PSC assess all calls we receive which are reporting missing persons, allowing for an expeditious response.
On each team there are staff working on the Digital Desk, responding to all our digital contacts including via email, Twitter and Facebook, and in the near future will be offering a web chat service.
When staff start their shift they book on at an available desk and log on to the force and national computer systems – one of these systems allows the operator who has been available for the longest wait time to be automatically fed a 999 emergency or 101 non-emergency call.
All newly appointed call handlers are provided with a robust training package. This includes classroom and allocation of a tutor to provide on-site training in responding to calls as they come in. Part of the training includes the finalising of calls, which is identified as the “the wrap-up call function”. This ensures that call-handlers will not be presented with another call until they have successfully completed all checks and collated relevant information for recording on the incident. This process has been put in place to ensure that call handlers have sufficient time for calls to be correctly dealt with, once this is complete operators then show themselves as available for the next call.
The calls you will be dealing with can vary greatly and your training will ensure you are able to identify calls which are for other agencies and advise the caller and redirect to the most appropriate agency. Calls can include reports of Road Traffic Accidents, domestic incidents which may involve violence, thefts, burglaries and robberies, fights and disturbances and members of the public suffering with mental health episodes including callers who are suicidal. This is a snapshot of the calls we deal with. Staff are trained to remain calm, de-escalate distressed callers and obtain accurate information off them quickly whilst ensuring the call handler assesses the Threat, Risk and Harm given the particular set of circumstances. This will result in calls being graded correctly and allocated the applicable appropriate and timely response.
Once the call has been graded, if it needs a response within between 15 minutes and eight hours it will then be transferred to dispatch, from where it will be allocated to officers to attend.
If it requires a police response but in slower time it will then be sent to our Incident Resolution Team (IRT) who also work within the PSC.
Once fully consolidated on CRO role you will be required to attend a further weeklong dispatch course and then spend a further six blocks with tutor’s upskilling on dispatch before they will become competent in this area of the role.
The role of the IRRO is to allocate officers to incidents that have been created and graded by our colleagues on call handling. The IRRO role requires a dynamic way of thinking. We utilise multiple skills to undertake an array of duties.
As an IRRO we assess risk of the incidents created by CROs and, if so required, upgrade to a more appropriate faster response. Or as can be the case, request the dispatch supervisor to review for the grading of the call to be downgrade. Doing this we can assist the sergeants to manage incidents in their BCU more effectively.
We are trained to cover all areas of SWP force area on six different channels. On these channels we focus on the incidents that have been created for that specific area. It requires the ability to manage several incidents at once and focus of prioritising incidents by the risk involved to allocate in a timely appropriate manner. We work with sector sergeants to assign officers to incidents and provide support if the officers require so in the form of finding intelligence through our NICHE (Record Management System) and PNC (Police National Computer) which allows us to interrogate the systems for details of previous incidents or anything of note that will aid the officers in their task.
If an officer requires emergency assistance, they will activate their alarm which comes back to PSC. We can then call for further units to attend and support the officer who has activated their emergency alarm. It requires a fast response and understanding of where your nearest resources are and what they are skilled in doing so.
We are trained through a pursuit course to handle vehicle pursuits when they arise. This is often non-planned and spontaneous that requires clear focus. We can assign the units and take all relevant details such as vehicle details, location, and circumstances involved. Once we are advised of a vehicle failing to stop, we immediately inform the dispatch supervisor who is pursuit management trained to take over the radio handling.
We are trained to keep calm in tense, highly critical situations and ensure we provide the support to both our police colleagues in the Basic Command Units and also dispatch colleagues within the room, we always work as a team, never alone.
Cautions and Convictions You may still be eligible to join the police service if you have minor convictions/cautions, but there are certain offences and conditions that will make you ineligible. Please check against the role eligibility criteria before applying.
Citizenship/Residency You must be a British Citizen, citizen from the European Economic Area (EEA), Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom. You must also have been continually resident in the UK for the three year period immediately before an application is made. This is to satisfy the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner and the UK Police service does not currently have any means of facilitating vetting checks overseas, to the extent required of those who have been resident in the UK. Applicants who cannot be vetted, cannot be appointed.
Political Affiliation South Wales Police has a policy of prohibiting any of our officers or staff from being members of the BNP, or a similar organisation whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality. If you are, or have previously been a member of the BNP or a similar organisation, your application will be rejected.
Qualifications For certain police staff roles you will be required to have obtained a specific level of qualification or have sufficient experience of working in the required field. This will be clearly stipulated on the role profile. If you do not provide evidence of your qualification and/or level of experience with your application then it will be withdrawn from the application process.
Tattoos Candidates with visible tattoos may be eligible for appointment. Each case will be considered on its own merits, considering the number, nature, size, prominence, appearance and location of the tattoos. Tattoos must not be offensive to colleagues or members of the public or undermine the dignity of your role within the Force. Tattoos on the neck, face or hands are still deemed to be unacceptable but consideration may be given in some circumstances considering the size, nature and prominence of the tattoo. If candidates choose to have any additional tattoos during the recruitment process, after passing eligibility checks, the onus is on them to advise HR and provide appropriate photographs which will need to be checked.
Vetting The importance of honesty and integrity is made clear throughout our application process. Police staff are subject to the Standards of Professional Behaviour, which clearly set out what is expected from police staff.
You MUST declare all convictions for past offences, formal cautions (including as a juvenile) and any bind-over imposed by the courts. You should also include all traffic convictions.
Audio Test If your application is successful you will be required to pass an audio test. One test will be to assess your spelling and grammar specifically, and the other will be to test whether you can extract salient information from the call. Both tests will assess your ability to handle these types of calls and obtain the information our police officers need.
In order to pass the tests you don’t need to type word for word, but you must cover all the relevant and important information and everything you type must make sense.
You will be allowed to stop or rewind the test, but this will slow your typing speed and you may not finish all the scenarios in the prescribed time which may affect your overall score. You will be provided with your scores but unfortunately, we will not be able to provide individual feedback. If you are unsuccessful you will be welcome to re-apply when we are next recruiting.
Interview Click here for further information.
What checks will I need to complete if I am successful at assessment stage?
Applicants will be invited to complete a medical questionnaire which may be discussed to identify any issues which may prevent appointment because of a risk to the applicant or anyone using the service of South Wales Police.
In addition, a hearing test will be completed for the purpose of health surveillance. The nature of work necessitates security-vetting checks. Appointment is conditional to all these checks being completed satisfactory.
Employment references will also be sought from current and previous employers from the last three years.
What Training will I receive?
All new staff undertake a 14-week training programme, which is a mixture of classroom-based learning and on-the-job learning with a tutor from your team. This covers training on all the computer systems you will be using and call handling training in how to deal with many different types of callers along with how to assess and grade incidents. This detailed training ensures staff are fully trained before they will be taking calls on their own.
When will I receive an offer of appointment?
This will only be provided once all the background checks are satisfactory. We will try to give you as much notice as we can but will give you a minimum of four weeks so that you can talk to your current employer about when they can release you to commence duty with us. At this point you will also have a contract of employment.
Please ensure you do not hand in your notice with your current employer until we have provided you with your contract.
What kind of shift pattern will I be on?
You will be required to work a shift pattern, which consists of working a combination of eight, nine and ten-hour shifts over a 24/7 period for six days which will include morning, afternoon and night shifts, followed by four rest days.
Can I work part time?
Yes, if you are successful you can apply to work part time. Your salary, and other entitlements such as holidays will be adjusted pro rata.
My question is not answered in these FAQs – how do I get in touch?
Email any further queries you have to: HR-RECRUITMENT@south-wales.police.uk