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Grab your headset and help someone in their time of need across Sussex

Today sees the launch of Sussex Police’s latest round of contact officer recruitment.

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When the going gets tough, contact officers are there to help. Whether it’s taking a report of a missing person, responding to a burglary or supporting someone in crisis, our contact officers play a vital role in helping keep our communities safe, identifying and protecting the most vulnerable and preventing harm.

Chief Superintendent Paul Betts who leads the Force Control and Command Centre (FCCCD) said:

“We were thrilled with the response to our recruitment campaign earlier this year and are delighted to reopen again today. Our contact officers are an integral part of our front-line, supporting us as we keep Sussex safe and feeling safe, and our recent recruitment has allowed us to provide a better service to the public already.”

“Our contact officers are the essential calm reassurance in someone’s time of need. Whether it’s receiving a call from the scene of a road traffic accident, taking details of a missing person from a concerned relative or responding to online reports of crime; our contact officers are empathetic, supportive and informative.

“It’s a challenging role, no two enquiries are the same, yet it’s one which offers a great sense of pride as we help make a difference, together.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:

“Contact handlers are the first port of call for people reporting crimes and needing urgent police help, so they need great listening skills, empathy, professionalism and patience. Fortunately Sussex Police continues to receive a very high standard of applicants wanting to join the team and I am sure the next intake will be no different.

“These are essential, unique and fulfilling roles within Sussex Police and I look forward to meeting the new contact handlers once they have been recruited and their training starts.”

Being a contact officer is not your typical nine to five call centre role, ideally you’ll need to be able to work shifts; including nights, weekends and bank holidays. Flexible working is available Monday through to Sunday, from 08:00 to 13:00, or as a job share on the full shift pattern.

You will deal with emergency 999 calls, non-emergency 101 calls, online reporting and social media. Asking the right questions, making threat and risk assessments, listening for vital details and recording information; all while monitoring two screens are vital skills. You will need to be patient, decisive, dynamic and compassion to provide the very best service to the public.

Those who are interested in a career within our FCCCD as a contact officer are encouraged to attend one of the recruitment tours being held at Police Headquarters (Lewes) throughout the application window. You can book a place on a tour here,

Chief Superintendent Betts added:

“If you want to know what life is truly like as a contact officer, then we invite you to come and experience it first-hand on one of our behind the scenes tours. You’ll get to listen into some of the calls you could deal with and meet some of the people who work in the contact and command centre. It’s the perfect opportunity to find out if you’ve got what it takes to work in this demanding, yet incredibly fulfilling roles.”

As the first point of contact for many, engaging with people of all ages and backgrounds, we’re looking for those who can build rapport quickly, show empathy and communicate clearly at all times. Enquiries can include some of the most difficult situations you can think of so compassion and resilience are also important. If you can work under pressure, problem-solve and think quickly then this could be the career for you.

To apply, visit their website

News

Police reveal every community in Sussex to get a named PCSO

Every community in Sussex will have a named PCSO starting from next month, Sussex Police has announced.

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The confirmation follows an investment in 100 extra PCSOs secured through local funding by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner – bringing the total number to 296.

Assistant Chief Constable for Local Policing Julia Chapman said the decision will put ‘eyes and ears’ into every part of the county and give local people a direct point of contact for local policing issues and concerns.

“When a new local policing model was introduced three years ago, we said it would be scalable. Now, thanks to this additional investment, we’re in a position to strengthen local policing and we know this is what local communities want to see,” she said.

“Our PCSOs do an incredible job, every day, working alongside their police officer colleagues to prevent and detect crime and tackle anti-social behaviour in local communities. 

“This change means communities will soon begin to see and feel the benefits of their investment as new PCSOs are deployed over the coming months, where they will provide a visible policing presence and be a point of contact for local policing issues.”

The change will take effect from November 4, when all existing PCSOs will adopt responsibility for a defined geographical area, and continue to be rolled out over the coming months as additional PCSOs are recruited and deployed. 

It comes in addition to recent announcements on the recruitment of 379 additional police officers for the county over the next four years, 250 funded locally and 129 through central Government funding.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said:

“My focus groups and conversations with local people clearly show that the public want PCSOs back in their communities, forming that essential and reassuring link with police.

“Neighbourhood policing needed modernising five years ago and that included giving PCSOs the necessary skills to help support police officers and investigations.

“Since then, Sussex Police have transformed PCSOs with more knowledge skills and powers, but at the same time keeping the best of the old model where PCSOs were known by their local communities.

“I know that communities across the county will be delighted to hear that Sussex Police are making their PCSOs more accessible and more visible by increasing the numbers on our streets by 100 and providing a named PCSO for each ward area.

PSCOs will continue to form part of wider local prevention teams, ensuring police resources are focused on the most critical issues, but spend more time in their dedicated area.

The uplift in PCSOs includes six new rural PCSOs who will provide specialist support and advice to those in rural communities with three based in West Sussex, two in East Sussex and one in Brighton and Hove.

The increase will help address some of the low level issues affecting communities, preventing the escalation of serious crime including violent crime.

The decision complements on-going transformation plans by Sussex Police to bolster local policing, improve public contact and modernise to remain agile and capable of responding to changing patterns of crime and vulnerability.

These additional PCSO posts are being recruited throughout the financial year with intakes of 18 in July 2019, 36 in September 2019, and 72 during two intakes in January and March 2020 under the PCSO apprenticeship scheme. 

With natural attrition the force should achieve the target of 296 PCSOs by March 2020, although the last cohort will be in training and not deployable until the end of next summer.

The 100 new posts will be allocated based on demand with details available locally and on the www.sussex.police.uk website from Monday, November 4.

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