Bedfordshire Police has recruited its largest ever single cohort of staff into its force control room as part of Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye’s pledge to invest in improving public contact.
Nineteen new police staff members have started training with the force ahead of joining the nerve centre of policing in the county where all 999, 101 and other public contact is managed.
The new starters are made up of a combination of radio agents, call handlers and crime bureau operators.
More than 50 staff have joined the force’s control room since August at a time when demand is growing.
Since the Covid lockdown restrictions were fully lifted in 2022, Bedfordshire Police witnessed an increase in call volumes, rising from under 10,000 999 calls a month at the start of the year to more than 13,000 calls per month on a couple of occasions towards the end of the year.
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye and Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst met with the new cohort last week during their first week of training.
It follows the PCC directing investment into this area to help ensure the force could increase staffing numbers in this key area of business.
Commissioner Akinbusoye said: “I want Bedfordshire Police to provide the very best police service to all of our residents, especially during moments of crisis.
“Our force control room is integral to delivering this outcome, and in order to achieve this, we need people who want to take on this challenging but rewarding role.
“This is why I made the funding available for the Chief Constable to do what was necessary to start recruiting FCR staff again. The number has steadily been growing since I came into office, but this is by far the highest number I have seen join us in two years.
“It was fantastic to meet them in their first week of training. I am confident that they will be an impactful addition to Bedfordshire Police.”
The demand into the force control room has placed noticeable strain on current staff and response times. Currently, some days see over 700 calls to 500 incidents and 200 crimes recorded in Bedfordshire.
Mr Rodenhurst said: “I know how frustrating it is for people who need our help but cannot speak to us for one reason or another.
“This is why we are working tirelessly to get staff in and trained up as quickly as we can.
“These roles really are on the frontline of policing, providing the first response to people when they need help the most.
“It is an incredibly rewarding career with lots of possibilities for progression and I would encourage anyone who might be interested to apply.”
Bedfordshire Police is currently recruiting its next cohort of control room staff, who will start their training in July.
For more information or to apply visit portal.crooton.com