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TVP call handling apprentices “hit the ground running”

Over 200 call handlers have now completed an apprenticeship with Thames Valley Police.

TVP’s emergency contact handler apprenticeship scheme began in 2018 and has now seen more than 200 people complete the programme.

Initially established to both grow the force’s workforce and provide a professional qualification for call handlers, the force has told Police Oracle that it helps ensure employees are both more efficient, and has a positive effect on the overall running of the service.

Apprenticeships last a year and the force currently operates a model of multi-skilled radio operators and call handlers. At the end of the programme, participants are accredited with a Level 3 emergency service contact handler apprenticeship.

No other qualifications are gained by call handlers as standard for the role.

Currently 433 call handlers sit at the force’s Kidlington HQ and between them they field up to two and a half thousand 999 and 101 calls from the public per day.

Christine Kirby, TVP’s Director of People, said: “An apprenticeship is designed to enable learners to hit the ground running once they enter their chosen careers. Staff in the contact centre need to be well trained and keep calm under pressure and apprenticeships offer an ideal way into the profession due to the blend of classroom learning and hands on training.”

August statistics show that TVP’s mean answering time for 999 calls was 14.4 seconds, with 76.4 per cent answered in under 10 seconds. The national target is to answer 90 per cent of 999 calls within 10 seconds. Police.uk stats show that not a single force met that target in August.

Thomas Boyd, Resourcing and Performance Operations Manager said to Police Oracle: “The apprenticeship is to help offer development and qualifications for our call handlers. As such they should be more efficient at their job roles when fully qualified which in turn should contribute to having a positive effect on the overall running of the service and performance.”

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