A new ‘front line’ of call handlers has begun training to deal with emergency and other calls to one of the North East’s police forces.

Northumbria Police has welcomed 17 new specialist contact handlers as part of the force’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the public receives the right assistance when required.

The new recruits, who joined shortly the force on an apprenticeship shortly after the New Year, are now two weeks into their extensive tailored training course.

They will be trained to answer both 999 and 101 calls and will help to ensure the force can provide the very best service possible to the public.

The Northern Echo: Northumbria Police's newly recruited apprentice team of trainee call handlers

Head of Communications, Rachel Walters, has given an official welcome to the new recruits to the team, while highlighting the vital role they will play in responding to the public calls for help.

“I’m so pleased to welcome our newest recruits into our contact centres.

“Ultimately, our main goal has always been, and will always be, to ensure that in an emergency someone is on the other end of the phone to you as quickly as possible and that they can provide the service and support you need.

“These new faces will play an important part in ensuring we continued to do just that.

“I’m really excited to see how they learn and develop into their new roles.”

The Northern Echo:

Northumbria Police receives an average of 850 calls to 999 and 900 calls on the non-emergency 101 number every day.

But, not every call requires a police response. 

Ms Walters said: “As always, we’re calling on the public’s continued support to help ensure we can respond to those who need us most as quickly as possible.

“Some of the calls we receive are not police-related or are just asking for guidance which can be found elsewhere, such as on Government or local authority websites, or via a quick internet search.

“Calls like these might seem harmless, but they contribute to have a huge demand on the staff working in the contact centres, such as our new contact handlers, who could otherwise be busy dealing with genuine emergencies.”

She urged people to think twice about their call and whether or not it requires a police response.

In a non-emergency situation, when able to do so, people can also contact the police online.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Improving call response times is something we are continually delivering on.

“As demand increases, the more call handlers we have trained up, answering the phones, the better.

“It really is such an important role requiring many skills.

“You never know what the next call might bring.

“Whatever it might be, our call handlers are the first point of contact many people will have with Northumbria Police, so it’s important we get this right.

“These latest recruits are from a broad range of backgrounds and are a welcome boost for the force.

“I have seen first-hand the challenges, but I know it is a rewarding career and I wish our new staff the best of luck.”

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To contact Northumbria Police in a non-emergency situation, people should visit the ‘Report’ pages of the force website.

If unable to report online, an alternative is to ring the non-emergency 101 line, which offers a call back service ensuring the place in the queue is not lost.

But, in an emergency, the 999 number should be used if someone is in immediate danger or a crime is ongoing.