Public react positively to insight to Control Room demand on busy Saturday
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We gave the public a rare insight into the inner workings of the Wiltshire Police Control Room on Saturday (24/07) to a great response.
For 24 hours, staff from the control room, which is based at our Headquarters in Devizes, took control of the Force’s social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The purpose was to show the public the demand the control room faces on a typical Saturday as part of our Click or Call campaign as we ask the public whether they need to call 999 or 101 or if they could start their journey with Wiltshire Police online.
We shared stories from call handlers of how it feels to receive calls that aren't an emergency, shared audio of when someone called 999 during the European Championships to tell us it was coming home and provided live stats through the day.
On Saturday, the control room took 238 999 calls between 7am and 10.30pm and 333 101 calls by the same time and the Force responded to an incredible 425 logs through the course of the day.
Calls taken over the weekend included dealing with a serious injury collision on the A36, a collision involving a horse in Chippenham and a car meet in Swindon.
However, while many of the calls were genuine 999 calls, sadly we also took several calls that were not emergencies.
These included, complaining about the price of cocktails at a pub, asking for the non-emergency number, a car parked in their space and a pocket dial from a nightclub.
Chief Insp Doug Downing who oversees the control room said: "We left it to the staff. They had control over the social media accounts to give a real insight into our demand over 24 hours.
“It was a collaborative idea across the organisation. We recognise the demand is increasing and we've got to ask ourselves what we can do to stem the demand whilst providing that high level of service to the people who need it most.
"We still want to provide that critical service to people who are vulnerable, need our support and need our intervention, but we're trying to tackle that unnecessary demand by asking, could people get what they need online.
"It's a snapshot of what our call handlers deal with. We have a brilliant team and very talented individuals that demonstrate vast amounts of perseverance and patience every week, 24 hours a day.
"Hopefully we showed the public the fantastic work they do whilst reminding people of the services they can access online.
“The response to the content we put out was fantastic and there was a real understanding, especially around the nuisance and prank calls, of the pressure we are under.
“We will always be here for you when you need us the most and don’t want to discourage people in a genuine emergency situation from calling 999. However, if we have made people realise, if they are not in an emergency, where they should go, then it has been a successful exercise.”
Throughout the summer, we will continue sharing stories, showcasing what services are now available on our website and giving an insight into how we deal with the demand we face.
We would encourage everyone to follow us on our social media channels and get involved with our campaign by using #ClickorCall.
Find out what you could report online here