The 21st marks the start of International Control Room Week – a celebration of the men and women whose working lives are devoted to making sure that we’re #ThereWhenYouNeedUs.
Over the week, we’ll be highlighting what life is like for our teams in our Force Control Room, providing help and advice on how to #MakeTheRightCall and doing our best to answer any questions you may have about how we prioritise where we send our teams.
We’re kicking off the week with an interview with our Head of the force control room, Chris Philpott, to learn more about how his experience in the private sector has helped us become more efficient.
If there’s one thing that’s really important to us here at Humberside Police, it’s listening to what you’re telling us so that we can give you the best possible service.
Whether that’s when we’re out knocking on your door as part of our force wide Humber Talking survey, when you stop us in the street to talk to us, get in touch via our website or social media or when you call 101 or 999 – your feedback is always welcome.
One of the things you have told us really matters to you is being able to get through to us quickly and easily on our non-emergency 101 line.
The Force Control Room is run by Chris Philpott, who joined us from the private sector in 2017 and immediately began implementing measures that are common in the commercial world but hadn’t been widely used in policing.
He said: “The feedback for police forces across the country was that people were frustrated about how long they were having to wait on hold when they were calling 101.
“To address this, we brought in a call back service. The way it works is to allow people to choose whether to wait on hold or have their place in the queue reserved for them and be called back by one of our call handlers when they get to the front.
“It was immediately successful. Take up from the public was good and it also means that we are able to deal with calls more quickly as people are not frustrated about the amount of time it’s taken to get through.
“During 2019, we have answered 75% of our non-emergency calls in less than 30 seconds, however, in busier times of the day, the call back service allows the caller to choose a callback. 13% of callers have taken up the service.
“And a number of other police forces have visited us to see how the system works and have now either implemented or are in the process of implementing similar systems.”
Another measure that’s been put in place since Chris’ arrival at Humberside is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make the best use of our call handlers’ time.
Traditionally, those answering 999 calls and 101 calls are kept separate which makes it harder for call handlers to switch between the two roles as demand changes.
Chris said: “With the AI system, if there is a peak in 101 calls but a drop in demand for 999, it can automatically switch call handlers to our 101 lines – this is allowing us to further improve our service by ensuring that we always have enough capacity to deal with any emergency calls whilst maximising our availability to those who need to talk to us about things that aren’t emergencies as well.”