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World Class Policing Awards: Stories from the control room

As a Founder Sponsor of the World Class Policing Awards and a long term supporter of policing in the UK and internationally, Sopra Steria are proud to be a part of celebrating all that is great in world class policing this year. Muz Janoowalla, Head of Emergency Services at Sopra Steria, shares some of his many stories demonstrating policing at its best.

We have been at the frontline of policing for over 30 years now and are privileged to work with forces in the UK and abroad. Having thought about what world class policing means to us at Sopra Steria, I wanted to share some stories of our control room staff and partners going above and beyond, demonstrating true world class policing.

Kathryn’s story – her life-saving 999 call

The caller dialled 999 after suffering a medical episode. Due to a medical condition he was unable to talk, and instead, tapped to let the call handler know he was there.

Sopra Steria call handler, Kathryn Longstaff, who works in our Cleveland Police Control Room, saved the life of a caller after her gut instinct told her something was wrong when the caller was unable to speak.

The caller dialled 999 after suffering a medical episode. Due to a medical condition he was unable to talk and, instead, tapped to let the call handler know he was there.

Kathryn, quick thinking, soon realised this was the caller’s only way of communicating and communicated with the man by asking him a series of questions which meant all he had to do was answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ through tapping.

As soon as Kathryn knew that the caller was in danger, her colleague dispatched officers to his address who also alerted the Medicar to attend as quickly as possible. Once it arrived, the man was rushed to hospital for life-saving treatment.

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Cleveland Police have been working together on the Medicar trial, which sees a paramedic working alongside two special constables in a dedicated response car, operating across Cleveland every Friday evening for 12 months. Medicar responds to incidents which would traditionally be attended by both services separately, such as road traffic collisions and assaults.

Kathryn and her colleagues’ actions on the day are demonstrative of the life-saving work our control room staff carry out, and highlights the challenging work the force and partner agencies deal with on a daily basis.

What3words – using technology to locate people in emergencies

Sopra Steria partner, what3words, has developed crucial technology that help control room staff save lives. In emergency situations quickly locating an individual or an incident is critical but isn’t always easy, especially in remote areas. What3words has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, with each square having its own unique three word identifier.

The caller can locate this three word address on their phone quickly, saving precious time rather than the handler having to ask a series of questions and the caller trying to describe non-identifiable surroundings. This three word address can then be used to pinpoint where a person is on the what3words map and the handler can deploy the emergency response to the precise location.

This technology helps control room staff save lives every day as was the case of when a vehicle carrying a mother and young child was run off the road in a rural area.

This technology helps control room staff save lives every day as was the case of when a vehicle carrying a mother and young child was run off the road in a rural area. The victim was unable to describe where she was so the call handler used what3words to get her to share her location and effectively deployed resources to the scene.

What3words has also helped successfully locate a number of other critical situations including a member of the public on a remote river path who had found a lost child.

Nominate your examples of world class policing

The above stories are just some of the examples of our control room staff and partners demonstrating world class policing. We are delighted to be supporting the World Class Policing Awards and are looking forward to celebrating with you in November. To nominate an example of world class policing, click here.


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