From 999/101 Call Handler to Supervisor in two years… Meet Rich Berry

From 999/101 Call Handler to Supervisor in two years… Meet Rich Berry

Rich joined TVP in December 2019 on our 999/101 Emergency Service Contact Handling Apprenticeship. With the help of TVP, he has achieved his Functional Skills Level 2 qualification (equivalent to GCSE grade 4), and was also supported throughout the process of being formally diagnosed with dyslexia. With the new skills and knowledge his apprenticeship taught him, Rich managed to apply and be successful in securing a position as a Supervisor in under two years. 

We recently caught up with Rich to find out what led him to TVP and how he’s getting on… 

 What attracted you to policing, specifically as a Call Handler?  

I thought about becoming a Police Officer when I was younger as I wanted to help people, but unfortunately I wasn’t tall enough (different times!). After working in retail management for over 20 years I was made redundant and after seeing the Call Handler role advertised at TVP, I decided to take the plunge and apply.  

 I understand that you joined TVP later in life. What did you do prior to joining? 

I started my working life in McDonalds and in time became a manager, before going into pub and restaurant management. I then met my wife and wanted to try something different, so decided to work at an opticians and gained an optical dispenser qualification. I spent the next 20 years doing that at senior management level.  

How have you found the apprenticeship side to your role? 

I believe that the apprenticeship is definitely worth it and I have felt well supported throughout. There’s guidance on the force intranet, peer supporters to help you when needed, and your workload is structured so that there is plenty of time set aside for coursework. 

What does your day-to-day look like? 

No two days are the same! I generally set myself a to-do list for the day, but depending on the type of calls that come in that can easily change. 

Typically as a Team Supervisor, my day consists of helping 999/101 Call Handlers, providing 1-1 feedback when required, the occasional meeting and assisting duty managers monitor our service levels. I also answer incoming calls and deal with the online reporting systems for the public. 

How do you find the support from Thames Valley Police? 

The support I have received has been amazing. Not only was I supported by my team leaders when I started, but also the senior leadership team. I was supported in obtaining my Functional Skills Level 2 qualification for English and Maths in order to complete my apprenticeship, and was also able to be assessed for and consequently diagnosed with dyslexia via TVP. 

There are also plenty of Staff Support Network and Buddy Schemes within the force that you can get help from for a broad range of issues, including wellbeing, faith-based, gender-based, sexual orientation-based and ethnicity-based networks. 

What would you say to others considering becoming a Call Handler? 

Becoming a Call Handler at TVP is a great and rewarding role. It can be exciting one minute and tough the next. If you like a challenge and are motivated by helping to protect your community, this could be the job for you. 

If Rich’s story has inspired you to consider a career as a 999/101 Call Handler, visit our Contact Management page for further information and to begin your journey.