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Emergency communications operator

Emergency communications operator incorporates both the roles of the call handler and dispatcher.

Recruitment for these positions will be held simultaneously and your application will be assessed for suitability across both positions.

Call handler

You will:

  • play a critical role in our response to both emergency and non-emergency calls, providing a first class service to the public
  • receive a huge variety of calls, often challenging in nature – At times you will be talking to people in potentially dangerous or vulnerable situations. They may be distressed or panicked and it is down to your ability to stay calm, make decisions and determine the most appropriate response
  • be expected to work quickly while remaining calm, to provide reassurance
  • ask the right questions and gather as much information as possible to enable our police officers to deal with the emergency incidents, support our victims and ultimately make our communities safer
  • play an integral role in making sure that our police officers are at the right place at the right time
  • work closely with our team of dispatchers to coordinate our policing response and ensure the most appropriate and necessary service is provided

You will:

  • be dealing with a large amount of incidents which you will need to prioritise and quickly make decisions as to what resources are needed
  • work closely with 101 switchboard operators and call handlers to assess the calls received
  • manage multiple calls and incidents at the same time, making accurate priority assessments and then determining the most appropriate policing response, based on risk and vulnerability
  • use your judgement to advise, direct and deploy police officers
  • work in partnership with our police officers to ensure we are at the right place at the right time and liaising with other agencies as incidents unfold

What we offer

How we reward you is linked to our culture, it is about more than just salary. Through a package of financial, lifestyle and health benefits, we support whatever stage of life you are in:

  • competitive starting salary of £23,100 – £25,353 with annual increments
  • substantial salary enhancements and shift allowances of £7,853 – £8,620 per annum
  • continued professional development and training
  • Local Government Pension Scheme –  a secure, flexible and tax efficient way of making sure you have a decent pension to look forward to in retirement
  • flexible working – our Flexi Time Scheme is designed to give people a degree of flexibility on arrival and departure times
  • generous holidays – minimum of 24 days annual leave per year which increases with length of service, plus Bank Holidays
  • low cost on-site gym at Police Headquarters – open 24 hours a day
  • support and advice through our Occupational Health unit
  • a range of staff associations, wellness programs and support network groups
  • great discounts on products and services – exclusive benefits for you and your family including, shopping, days out, sporting events, dining and holidays
  • lifestyle benefits, including sports and social facilities and activities, cycle to work scheme and childcare vouchers
Shift patterns

The control room operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You will need to be prepared to work a variety of shifts in both roles, which will include some weekends, nights and bank holidays.

Shift patterns run in a 30 day cycle. Below is an example of the shift pattern you may be expected to work.

30-day shift pattern

  • Two earlies 0700-1700
  • Two lates 1300-2300
  • Two nights 2300-0700
  • Four rest days
  • Two earlies 0700-1700
  • Two lates 1300-2300
  • Two nights 2300-0700
  • Four rest days
  • Two earlies 0800-1800
  • Two lates 1630-0230
  • Two nights 1800-0200
  • Four rest days
Recruitment process

Application form

Once you have completed your online application form, it will be scored against our shortlisting criteria.

Familiarisation event

If you are successful you may be invited to attend an online Familiarisation event to find out more about the role.

Assessment centre

This will involve a series of work-related assessments, for example, typing speed and multi-tasking tests.

Competency based interview

Currently being carried out by online video.

Vetting and checks

Recruitment vetting clearance requires a three year continuous residency and checkable criminal history in the UK. You will also have your financial status checked. High standards of behaviour will also be expected of you in your personal life and social media presence.


You must:

  • be aged 18 years or over on the day you submit your application
  • have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application
  • have leave to enter or leave to remain and work in the UK for an indefinite period
  • not be a member of the British National Party or other relevant organisations
  • not have served a prison sentence
  • have the ability to commit to a shift pattern which covers a 24/7 period

Working for Avon and Somerset Police is a job like no other, we believe in empowering our people to make decisions and see individuality as a strength.

We provide training and development to help you be the best you can be.

Our call handler and dispatcher courses involve a four or six week programme. Your first few weeks will start in a classroom environment where you will undertake practical exercises and student led activities.

Week 1

Starting with your induction into Avon and Somerset Police, you will also begin to learn the basics of our IT systems and undertake practical exercises learning about the key skills needed to handle 999 calls.

This initial training week will also give you a simple outline of the UK legal system.

Week 2

There will be practical exercises to practice those essential call handling skills such as remaining calm, asking the right questions and deciding on correct course of action.

You will be shown how to use the Police National Computer (PNC) and learn how this will be used in your role.

Week 3

After some more practice 999 calls, you will undertake assessments to test your knowledge and competency when taking, risk assessing and grading emergency 999 calls.

Weeks 4 to 6

Depending on whether you are joining us as a call handler or dispatcher, these weeks will include specific training for your role, followed by final assessments, before you move into our real emergency control room.

Call handlers

This will be the final week of training for call handlers and you will get to practice more scenarios. It will also cover how to deal with more difficult and distressing calls.


Dispatchers will continue for a further three weeks, where you will learn how to use and speak correctly on the radio, receive systems training on how to navigate and dispatch officers to incidents and take more practice calls.

Finally you will learn about police pursuits, what critical decisions are made before engaging in a pursuit and how to control a police pursuit.

After training

Once you have completed the course, you will move to our live Control Room where you will start to use your new skills.

You will be fully supported by a dedicated tutor, who will guide you through your first few weeks as an emergency communications operator.

Ready to join us?

Contact our Talent Acquisition team to make a recruitment-related query.

Stay up to date

Find out about our latest vacancies by registering for our job alert email service, or join our Talent Bank to be contacted about suitable vacancies.

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