We will be opening our contact officer recruitment on Monday 2 September. To register your interest in the role please email careers@sussex.pnn.police.uk

When the going gets tough, contact officers are there to help. Whether it’s taking a report of a missing person, responding to a burglary or supporting someone in crisis; our contact officers play a vital role in helping keep our communities safe, identifying and protecting the most vulnerable and preventing harm.

For many people, you’ll be the first point of contact with the police. You’ll be a calm, reassuring voice in people’s hour of need. Asking the right questions, listening for vital details and recording information; all while monitoring two screens.

Being a contact officer is certainly not your typical nine-to five call centre role; no two calls are the same. You will deal with emergency 999 calls, non-emergency 101 calls, online reporting and social media. In return, we promise you a good starting salary, plus an unsocial shift allowance, great training experiences, opportunities for progression and the pride that comes from helping others.

Join us and help make a difference, together.

Have you got what it takes?

Working in a fast-paced, 24/7 environment, being a contact officer is a demanding role where you need to be patient and comfortable working under pressure and problem-solving. You’ll be the sort of person who relishes a challenge. Thinking quickly is imperative, as is multi-tasking.

You’ll find yourself engaging with people of all ages and backgrounds so you’ll need to be able to build rapport quickly, show empathy and communicate clearly at all times. Enquiries can range greatly, including some of the most difficult situations you can think of. You’ll need to find the balance between compassion and not becoming emotionally involved; having the resilience to deal with the rough and the smooth on a daily basis. However, you will always be supported.

Our contact officers are an integral part of our frontline, supporting the divisions of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex, as well as specialist departments including Public Protection, Firearms and Counter-Terrorism. You’ll work closely with your police officer and staff colleagues; making a difference, together.

No two calls are ever the same. You could find yourself:

  • Obtaining and recording accurate information regarding a live or historic situation.

  • Handling large volumes of calls, emails or social media enquires – we receive on average 70,000 per month.

  • Responding to several emergency situations simultaneously.

  • Acting as the main point of contact between the force and the public.

Our contact officers work a 10-week rotating shift pattern on the following schedule:

  • Two early shifts – 07:00 to 17:00 or 09:00 to 19:00

  • Two late shifts – 13:00 to 23:00 or 15:00 to 01:00

  • Two night shifts – 19:00 to 03:00 or 23:00 to 07:00

  • Four rest days

Upon completion of the full-time training course, we are able to offer part-time working hours, however these will still need to conform to the shift pattern. Term time only hours are not possible with this role and you’ll need to be willing to work some weekends and public holidays.

While customer service experience is a bonus, it’s not necessary as, from your first day with us, you will be supported through great training by brilliant teammates. Overall, you’ll simply want to make a difference, together.

Please note that this role attracts a 24 month tenure, therefore while you can apply for other roles within the force you will not be able to start your new role until the tenure has expired.

Are you eligible?

To apply for the role you will need to meet our eligibility criteria:

  • Aged 18 years or over (on the day you submit your application).

  • Have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application.

  • Have leave to enter or leave to remain and work in the UK for an indefinite period.

  • Not be a member of the British National Party or other relevant organisations.

  • Not have served a prison sentence.

  • Ability to commit to a 10-week rotating shift pattern which covers a 24/7 period.

For more information, see FAQs.

What we offer you

When you join Sussex Police, you can expect a career with variety, diversity, challenges, rewards and great learning experiences. This is a vital role which matters to the public, but it also matters to us. As such, we will give you:

  • A starting salary of at least £23,361 plus an unsocial shift allowance in the region of £7,200 per year.

  • 25 days per year annual leave, rising to 30 days depending on your length of service (annual leave based on 37 hours working week and 7.4 hour day).

  • Great development experiences that will support future career opportunities and progression.

  • A competitive benefits package including pension, flexible benefits, employee assistance programme for advice and counselling, access to discounts / savings / cash-back rewards.

  • Progressive approach to flexible working, enhanced maternity and paternity leave and potential for a career break (after two years’ service).

  • Part-time working patterns after completion of the full-time training.

  • Opportunities to join various support networks, staff associations and sports clubs.

Read more about what you can expect from us as an employer.

Contact Officer training

By successfully completing the recruitment process, you will join Sussex Police as a contact officer and will join a 12-week training course; consisting of six weeks' training and six weeks' tutoring where we will support and coach you to become competent in the role.

The training course is full-time, Monday to Friday, working 8:00 to 16:00 and 12:00 to 20:00 on a rotating pattern.

Upon completing the training you will work across both 101 and 999 within our contact centre based at Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes.

Starting your career in our contact centre will provide you with a wide range of skills and experiences which will enable you to either apply to progress within the contact centre – as a controller or supervisor - or apply for a number of different roles across the organisation. You could become a police officer or a PCSO, start an investigative career or work in one of our support departments such as corporate communications or professional development. The possibilities are endless.

How do I apply?

So you want to join us as a contact officer.

On Monday 2 September, we will be opening recruitment to fill training courses/intakes in 2020. With limited opportunities available, and anticipated high interest, we would encourage you to submit your application as early as possible.

The application process consists of five stages and it’s important to note that because of this, the average time from application to appointment is six months. Only by adopting this stringent approach can we ensure we select people who will make great contact officers.

Stage one - online application form: this is where we check your personal details and that all eligibility criteria have been met.

Stage two - online situational judgment assessment: this test has been specifically designed for use in the recruitment of 999 and 101 contact officers. You will be presented audio clips of interactions between contact officers and callers and asked to rate the effectiveness of actions which could be taken in response to the scenario.

Stage three - in-force multi-skills assessment: this test is designed to check your competence with multi-tasking. The assessment involves listening to twenty pieces of audio played over a loud speaker. You are required to document what you can hear being said. In between the audio, you will complete a set of basic maths and English questions. You will need to move from document to document until all of the audio sentences have been played.

Stage four - face-to-face interview: this interview will be based upon the competency and values framework.

Stage five - pre-employment checks: this is when we begin our pre-employment checks which consist of a medical, vetting, biometric vetting and a fitness test. Further information on the checks can be found in the FAQs below.

Timeline

  • 2 Sept – 23 September: application window open.

  • 3 Sept – 20 Sept: recruitment tours.

  • 24 Sept – 30 Sept: online assessment.

  • 12 Oct – 19 Oct: multi-tasking.

  • 30 Oct – 31 Oct: interviews.

  • 04 Nov onwards: pre-employment checks.

 

Application

If your application has been successfully submitted you will receive an email to your registered email address along with your candidate ID. If you have submitted an application but have not received a notification please first check your Spam/Junk folder before emailing recruitment@sussex.pnn.police.uk providing your full name, telephone number and the date you submitted your application.

Recruitment tours

For those who are interested in applying to be a contact officer, we are running a series of recruitment tours throughout the application window so you can get a feel for what it’s like to work in our Force Command and Control Centre.

You’ll get to see behind the scenes to find out what life is really like as a contact officer and how this role supports the wider organisation.

Each tour consists of 20 spaces. To book onto a tour, please click on the dates/timeslots below where you will be taken to Eventbrite to register your attendance.

Tuesday 3 September: 10:00-11:30

Wednesday 4 September: 14:00-15:30

Thursday 5 September: 17:30-19:00

Friday 6 September: 17:30-19:00

Tuesday 10 September: 10:00-11:30

Wednesday 11 September: 14:00-15:30

Thursday 12 September: 17:30-19:00

Friday 13 September: 17:30-19:00

Tuesday 17 September: 10:00-11:30

Wednesday 18 September: 14:00-15:30

Thursday 19 September: 17:30-19:00

Friday 20 September: 17:30-19:00


You will be required to bring a form of photographic identification (passport or driving licence) in order to be permitted to police premises. If you do not present any identification you will be unable to attend the tour. Please note that due to increased security we cannot permit bags on the tour. Mobile phones will be permitted to be carried but no photos or videos will be allowed during the tour.

If you experience difficulty booking from a mobile phone, please try using a PC or different browser, such as Chrome. If you still cannot book a slot then please contact careers@sussex.pnn.police.uk

FAQs

Is there a probationary period?

There is a 12 month probation period during which you will be expected to fulfil your training requirements. The role also has a 2 year tenure period upon commencing employment during which we would not support internal moves to other roles within Sussex Police.

Can I work part-time?

We are advertising for full time and part time posts. We do require you to be full time to complete your initial training course which runs Monday to Friday working 0800 – 1600 and 1200 – 2000 on a rotating pattern. Part-time employees will still need to conform to the shift pattern above (six days of working shifts, four days of rest) but may be able to adapt their hours within this shift pattern. Term time-only hours, are not possible with this role, and you need to be willing to work some weekends and public holidays.

Can I request flexible working?

Once you have 26 weeks service with Sussex Police you will be able to submit a flexible working application. Shift patterns will need to conform to the shift pattern above (six days of working shifts, four days of rest) but may be able to adapt their hours within this shift pattern.

I am disabled, can I access the Contact Centre and Sussex Police Headquarters?

Yes, our Contact Centre and many buildings across Headquarters all have step-free access. If you require any reasonable adjustments please include this on your application form. If you wish to speak with someone regarding this please contact our recruitment team.

I have a problem submitting my application. Who shall I contact?

Please email recruitment@sussex.pnn.police.uk at the earliest opportunity.

I have not received an email confirming if I have passed or failed?

At the end of each element of the selection process you will receive an email. If you have not received an email please check your junk mail/filter settings in case the emails have been filtered by your spam software. If this is not the case then please contact recruitment@sussex.pnn.police.uk.

How do I contact Sussex Police about my application?

After reading this section, if you still have questions then you can email us at recruitment@sussex.pnn.police.uk.

Eligibility

Are there any age restrictions?

We encourage applications from everyone whether you’re a college leaver or someone wishing to change their career. You'll need to be 18 or over but there is no upper age limit.

I have applied before and was unsuccessful, can I apply again?

Yes, you are able to apply regardless of when you previously applied.

I am not a British Citizen. Can I still apply to join Sussex Police?

You can still apply as long as you are an EEA National or a Swiss National. Commonwealth Citizens and Foreign Nationals are required to have leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period. Applicants must have resided in the UK for three continuous years immediately prior to application.

I have motoring offence(s). Can I still apply?

We will need to assess the motoring offences. However, if you have more than six penalty points on your driving licence and/or two or more motoring offences within three years prior to the application date you will not be eligible to apply to join Sussex Police as a Contact Officer.

I have a criminal record. Can I still apply?

Applications will be rejected in all cases where:

• Offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home); or
• The applicant is a registered sex offender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.

For all other convictions or cautions there is a rebuttable presumption** that they should be rejected. In particular, the following would result in rejection:

• Offences where vulnerable people were targeted.
• Offences motivated by hate or discrimination.
• Offences of domestic abuse.

Although the rebuttable presumption is that these should lead to rejection, there will be cases where this may be disproportionate in the circumstances. For instance, where the offence was committed as a juvenile, it was not serious and the individual has demonstrated a commitment to help individuals or communities in the subsequent years, their vetting acceptance may be justified.

**Both in common law and in civil law, a rebuttable presumption is an assumption made by a court that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and prove otherwise. For example, a defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent until proved guilty.


Application

What does the application form include?

The application form will consist of information about you and a series of competency questions based upon the Competency and Values Framework (CVF). More information regarding the CVF can be found here.

You will be advised at the end of the questionnaire if you have met all the requirements of the form. It is very important that you will follow the instructions as incomplete forms cannot be submitted.

How will I be shortlisted?

The questions within the application form where you gave examples and described your suitability for the role will be reviewed and scored against the key skills, behaviours and competencies for the role as outlined in the job advert and job description. If you are successful you will be invited to attend the assessment centre, if you are unsuccessful we do not normally offer feedback at this point in the selection process.

What can I expect at the multi-tasking exercise?

This stage of the process is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your listening and written skills. This will take place at Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes.

What can I expect during the telephone interview?

You will be asked to partake in a scenario where you will be expected to play the part of a Contact Officer. Here you will be assessed on your questioning skills and vocal image.

What can I expect at the face to face interview?

Interviews will be held at Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes. We use a competency based assessment - competencies are a set of behaviours, functional skills and knowledge that an employee must have or acquire in order to fulfil the requirements of the role successfully.

You will be assessed against the Competency and Values framework. Behavioural competency questions will typically ask you about something that you have done in the past. In order to prepare for this type of question you’ll need to think of specific examples of when you have demonstrated these competencies.

Pre- Employment Checks

Medical

You will be asked to complete a confidential medical questionnaire. Depending upon your medical history, we may need to contact your doctor or a specialist for further information.

Vetting

You will need to complete a vetting form so that we can carry out pre-employment checks.

We will carry out security checks on you and your:
• Spouse/Partner
• Father/Stepfather/Mother’s Partner
• Mother/ Stepmother/Father’s partner
• Brothers/Sisters (full/half/step)
• Children/Children of your partner (only those aged 10 years and over)
• Any other adult living at your address
• Financial Circumstances
• Social Media accounts

Do I have to declare if I was arrested but not charged?

Yes, you must declare if you have ever been subject of a criminal investigation whether or not this lead to a prosecution. Failure to make such declarations will lead to your application being rejected.

What if I have a relative who has convictions?

If your friends or family members are criminals, this must be disclosed. Your application will not be automatically rejected; consideration will be given on a case by case basis.

Can I apply if I’ve been bankrupt?

Yes, you can apply but only if it is three years after bankruptcy debts have been discharged.

Can I apply if I have a County Court Judgement (CCJ)?

Yes, if the judgement has been discharged, you can be considered. If you have an existing judgement, your application will be rejected.

Can I apply if I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA)?

Applicants with a current IVA will be considered. However the candidate will be required to show that there is an IVA repayment plan in place and that the applicant has maintained regular payments over a significant number of months.

Can I continue with my other business interest?

You must declare any other employment for hire or gain or any other business interests that you intend to maintain when you apply. A decision on whether your business interests are compatible with the role of Contact Officer will be made on the basis of the full information provided during the recruitment and selection process.

Any further questions?

If you have any questions that are not covered by the information above, you can email us at recruitment@sussex.pnn.police.uk