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Diary of a key worker: Dawn Willis, contact officer

In response to COVID-19 our staff and officers are working to keep you safe. For some this has meant a change to their role, the way they work and some personal sacrifices.

As part of our series of new ‘Diary of a key worker’ features we’ll be bringing you the personal stories of colleagues from teams and departments across the force and how they are responding to the pandemic.

Dawn Willis
Dawn Willis


I am a Contact Officer based at West Bromwich, I am the first point of contact for 999/101 and Live Chat. I communicate with the caller and carefully record the details, I then have to make a decision on how we will react, if a crime is taking place or there is a life is at risk I immediately send the log to the control room for officers to be dispatched.

I have an underlying health issue so I am currently working from home dedicated to Live Chat, but still working with my team to support the public. I feel happy that I can do the same job but in a different location, with the same IT systems and the same support from colleagues.

I have been issued with a laptop and mobile phone, this was organised very quickly by IT and delivered to my home address. I have amended my shifts slightly to support my department during this time of national emergency.

I live in a busy house, but my family support me with working shifts. I have created a dedicated home office area. It is strange working at midnight whilst the family are all in bed or on a weekend when they are relaxing.

The people I’m helping can be vulnerable, for example in a domestic abuse relationship and they find it easier to communicate online via Live Chat rather than on the telephone. I have also had Live Chats with people who are feeling low and want to end their life. I keep communicating with them whilst I arrange help and support for them.

I no longer get to see my work family, who I miss. My team know that I prefer to sit with them rather than sit on my own, sometimes I need a second opinion or someone to talk to if I have had a bad call. But I have daily calls with my supervisor, who has been an excellent support throughout this time of change.

My message to you is simple…stay positive. We can get through this time of change and support each other. Please keep adhering to government guidelines - stay home and stay safe - so life can get back to how we know it.

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