Meet Call Handler Vanessa Cooper – Answering the Call to Make a Difference
Vanessa’s journey into Thames Valley Police began at the start of 2024, marking a significant shift after being self-employed for six years. Drawn to the role of a 999/101 Call Handler, Vanessa’s aspiration was clear – to make a meaningful impact in a team environment where she could help protect local communities.
How long have you worked for Thames Valley Police?
I joined TVP at the beginning of this year and it’s genuinely been the best decision I have made. I have spent the last six years self-employed and it’s so nice to be part of a fantastic team now.
What inspired you to pursue an apprenticeship with TVP?
I was really keen to become a call handler at TVP because I knew that I would find it extremely rewarding, I needed a job where I could make a difference and that would be fulfilling knowing that you’re helping people. This role certainly ticks those boxes and to be able to do an apprenticeship alongside a job you love and achieving qualifications at the same time is a fantastic opportunity.
Can you share a memorable moment or achievement during your time with us?
In this job, every day is memorable and an achievement in itself, it’s so rewarding knowing that you are helping multiple people on a daily basis, but one of the most memorable moments so far has been a potential kidnapping incident. It was a very long call and involved the victim talking in various coded language to keep us updated of his whereabouts, and we managed to get this vehicle to safe stop and the male was removed by police to safety. This work has since been recognised and it’s rewarding to know that your good work is acknowledged.
How has your mentor or support system contributed to your professional growth?
From the moment training begun, the support systems around me have been fantastic and continues to be. When you finish training, you are ready to take your first call but you are far from alone. You spend extensive time with a tutor who is there to provide full support, and you then go on to mentorship where you have the chance to grow your confidence with the reassurance that there is guidance should you need it. Since mentorship there is constant guidance from my line manager and we have regular meetings where we reflect; it’s a great opportunity to discuss any issues and receive feedback which is great for my professional growth. I find everyone is so supportive which contributes to progression and I am always learning and benefiting from it.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a 999/101 Call Handler on the apprenticeship at TVP?
Do your research to make sure it’s right for you. If you think you would thrive in a fast paced environment, be able to make quick key decisions, keep calm in a crisis and be able to comfort victims in their worst times, be a life line for your callers and genuinely want to help the public, this could be for you. I would urge you to try taster days to experience the live environment to see if you can see yourself as a Call Handler. I would also like to reiterate that this apprenticeship comes will full support and comprehensive training throughout, so be assured that prior experience is not required.
If you’re interested in finding out more about becoming a 999/101 Call Handler, visit our Contact Management page.