We have had a particularly busy few days this week. If you have been following the Blog or our Twitter posts you will have picked up on how I like to say “nothing happened” … “Its been a quite week …. ” and so on! Our aim, I guess, is to be boring, to have nothing happening – Ok, so the reality of life is nothing like that but we are striving to make sure as little as possible actually happens. This week though, a lot happened, from gun reports in Halesowen, to chases over back fences in Pensnett, shopping trolley dash in Amblecote and Domestic Violence reports across the area. But the good news is that these are uncommon (except perhaps the Domestic Abuse) and all had very positive results with arrests and safety.
Every one of the incidents above came in to us as a phone call and we organised our responses, gathering information, getting officers to scenes and ensuring everyone’s safety by radio. Communications are key to everything we do.
Everything really, it could be anything from an immediately life threatening incident to the most mundane of things. When that call flashes up on the call handlers screen they have no idea what the content will be. The technology that we use to handle these calls has changed over the years but the nature of the calls has changed very little. The biggest change has been in the volume; predominantly calls come in now from mobile phones numbers. This is great because we can get instant information from incidents and it increases access to us but a it’s also a bit of a problem when the caller then keeps on moving and we are left trying to find them. Every morning we have a range of incidents to follow up from overnight where the caller wasn’t where they said they were. Frequently this is a call made after a few drinks and then caller lost interest / changed their mind but we still need to check out their safety.
We have come a long way from the early days of policing, from our early Control Rooms to our current Contact Management Centre where everything from phone calls and visitors to the management of all police resources across the Dudley Borough are dealt with. The technology we have now allows us to stay in touch with staff wherever they are. It allows them to speak with colleagues anywhere in the country, which is particularly useful for us in a policing area where we share borders with two other police forces (West Mercia Police and Staffordshire Police). We can talk instantly with them to inform them of incidents, the movement of offenders, request help and a hundred and one other things that make everything more effective. All this new technology though seems to have led to a surge in the number of Computer Screens required! I have manged to reduce mine down to four screens.
Earlier in the year we transferred our contact number from 0345 113 5000 to the new national number 101. This means that wherever you are in the country you get through to the local police for where you are. If it is us you particularly want to speak to, wherever you are, just tell the operator and they will connect you to West Midlands Police (or any police area you want).
The 999 number is still there for use in an emergency.
As a bit of taster of the calls we get below is a selection of some of the incidents we had come through on the phones in the course of an hour recently.
People using an Air rifle in public in Dudley. A little bit more on the implications of this and guns generally later.
Alarm at a Commercial Premises in Dudley. Turned out it was a ‘False Activation’ but it still initially required officers getting there and securing the site (surrounding it in other words) before the key holder could confirm nothing was wrong.
Dispute between Neighbours over parking in the street outside their houses in Stourbridge. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence particularly in some of our smaller streets which were never designed for two and three car households, in fact the were never designed for cars.
Domestic Violence Dudley. A little bit of a problem with this one, because when officers got there the circumstances were nothing like the caller had said on the phone. She said she had exaggerated things to get us there! The problem we had was that there was a genuine history of Domestic Violence involving her and her Partner.
Domestic Violence Lye – offenders arrested, yes, that’s right, it was offenders. He brought his mate as ‘support’, both arrested.
Fight in street, Quarry Bank, Domestic Violence linked and offender arrested.
Safe and Well check in Dudley. The level of concern we had and the circumstances of the report to us meant that we had to force entry to the house, person not there, a relief in one way but more enquiries to find where they were (quickly).
Fight between brothers, Stourbridge
Fight between Brother and Sister, Pensnett, both were over 50 years of age. Spoke to the Sister on the phone to see what was actually happening and she claimed (proudly) that she’d put him down twice last year but didn’t want to have to do it again…and her chips were getting cold!
Assault on Pub manager, Brierley Hill after he refused to serve someone.
Theft of a delivery van – offender found and caught by officers, using a combination of technology (tracking systems), speaking with witnesses, quick thinking by officers and even quicker running – there’s a lesson here, don’t leave your keys in the van outside while you deliver inside!
Domestic Abuse related harassment.
Missing person, very vulnerable due to mental age. Caused real concern when we got the call and searches were in the process of starting when she returned home stating she had been out to play.
Search for Missing 12-year-old boy in Foster care – last seen climbing out the bathroom window!
Incidents involving firearms across the Dudley Borough are rare but we treat each and every report seriously. We had a couple of such incidents this week, one of which caused us real concerns; during the incident because of what we were told and afterwards, on reflection, for what could have been a very different outcome.
We received a call from a lady to say there was a young man on her neighbours driveway walking around in circles with two guns in his hands. She said he looked very agitated and kept pointing the guns at the houses. She didn’t know who he was but was really worried. Then he walked off down the road out of sight but still with the guns!
As with any such call we had assistance from Firearms officers, Police Helicopter, Police Dogs and our own officers. A search of the area produced no sign of this ‘gunman’ and some door to door enquiries in the area produced another witness who said “oh yes, that was just J…. across the road, he’s filming a project for school”. J…. was found eventually and all was confirmed. Luckily for him it ended this way, not so for the young man in the CCTV footage – A Scary Moment.
That’s it for this week, if there are any areas or topics that you would like me to have a look at over the coming weeks let me know and I will see what I can do to include them. In the meantime if you want to comment on anything then please do use the comments section below or if you like what we are doing then, again, feel free to let others know using the buttons below (or just tell them!), thanks.