GoResponse Telephone Answering Service Staff

Top call centre boss on her first successful months as 999 chief

Pauline Smith is recognised at call centres throughout the land as being one of the top bosses in the industry. She found the Nottinghamshire 999 service so good – she now runs it! Since November, Pauline’s been overseeing Notts Police’s 330 seat control centre.

She joined the force in November as the head of control centre operations – in other words, the woman who oversees the 330-strong team who respond to our phoned-in pleas for police assistance.

Pauline is one of recently-arrived Chief Constable Julia Hodson’s most notable appointments so far. Pauline’s post is normally filled by a police officer. There is in fact only one other control centre head in England and Wales whose name isn’t prefixed by the abbreviation “Supt”.

Pauline, however, is a police staffer – somebody who knows the work inside out and is respected within the industry.

She joined Staffordshire’s control room at the age of 21 and, in 2005, was the first person from the force to be named European contact manager of the year by an industry magazine.

It is hoped her appointment will bring continuity to the role, as well as building trust and confidence between the public and the police during that first, vital 999 interchange.

Her manner is relaxed and informal, yet crucially to-the-point – precisely the approach all operators must perfect for extracting critical crime-scene information from callers who may be very traumatised.

“The importance of the first call and the action taken afterwards is crucial,” says Pauline. “People need to feel comfortable talking to you. If you’re speaking to a distressed person, you need to calm them down and empathise with them.
“You might be on the phone for an hour with somebody who is trying to commit suicide. Because you have a relationship with that person, you can’t just break that off by moving on to something else. We get a lot of those types of calls every day.”

For the full story see the This Is Nottingham.co.uk website.

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