We speak to John Gale about why he joined the team…

Why did you join the control room?

The simple answer is because I was too short to be a police officer! When I left school there were still height restrictions in place for police officers and I didn’t meet those, I explored the possibility of becoming a firefighter but the same height restrictions applied. I was still keen to work for the emergency services and I successfully applied for a role in a fire service control room and that was the start of my career in emergency service communications. I have worked for the fire service and the police and I am currently a duty officer in the control room for the first police national collaboration.

Tell us what is like working in an emergency control room?

Varied! Rarely are two days ever the same. You need to have good problem solving and decision making skills in order to analysis information, which is often limited, in order to prioritise incidents and make an appropriate response. The environment is often pressurised, but there is always a good team work ethic within the control room which helps greatly. There are a number of roles within the control environment from call handling, dispatching and training amongst others.

There is always a good team work ethic within the control room which helps greatly. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Without a doubt the most rewarding part of the job is knowing that you have made a difference, overcoming the challenges of resource availability to achieve a successful outcome whether that be locating a suspect or a vulnerable person. Being part of a national collaboration we respond to and support incidents throughout England and Wales, in recent times we have deployed resources to a number of major incidents

What makes your job challenging and how do you overcome this?

As a supervisor, one of the most challenging aspects of working in the control room is when demand is greater than available resources. There is a need to prioritise requests and make sure that the most urgent tasks are dealt with first, for example when life it is at risk.

What does International Control Room Week mean to you and the team?

Recognition of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes unseen supporting members of the public and frontline operational colleagues. Promoting the unsung heroes who are often instrumental in saving lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thank John and the team by using #UnsungHeroes on social media. If you have a story, please email hello@controlroomweek.com