Police contact centres

Although you may not have realised it, the Contact Management and Communications Unit (CMCU) in Devon and Cornwall and Force Command Centre in Dorset are part of Alliance Operations. As the gateway for the public to reach the police, and at the same time the team that allocates officers to respond, these contact centres are at the frontline of policing.

The men and women who work in the contact centres in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job, as you will see from our video and by reading the Q&As.

You can follow the Alliance Operations department on Twitter at @AllianceOpsDept where we welcome your comments and queries.

Q: How busy is it in the contact centres?
A: Two contact centres in Devon and Cornwall – one at Police HQ in Exeter and one in Plymouth – receive 500–800 emergency (999) calls every day and 2,000 – 2,500 non-emergency calls via 101.

Dorset’s single contact centre receives over 200 emergency 999 calls and over 1,300 calls to 101 every day

It’s busy.

Q: Do contact centre staff only answer calls?
A: No. Some staff answer and prioritise calls coming in, other staff contact officers and allocate them to incidents according to priorities and requirements. The contact centres for that reason contain radio operators.

Q: Are all civilian contact centre staff full time? How long does it take to train to be a call handler?
A: No, the contact centres and control rooms are great places for people to work part time and flexible hours. It can take up to a year to become fully trained and skilled.

Q: Are all the people who answer calls civilian police staff?
A: No. Examples of police officers who work in the contact centres are the Force Incident Managers (FIM) in Devon and Cornwall who is a police Inspector (this role is called the Critical Incident Inspector, soon to be renamed to Response Inspector, in Dorset). In Devon and Cornwall we also have more than 22 sergeants and 30 police constables.

Q: Will I have to wait if call 101?
A: Probably, this is more than likely as we prioritise emergency calls. Remember if life is threatened or if criminals are still nearby, call 999. Otherwise, we have alternative online contact methods which mean you don’t have to wait to make a non-emergency report. This is why in we ask you to #ClickB4UCall if you are comfortable using email and online contact methods.

All contact methods in Devon and Cornwall can be found within our Contact section.

For Dorset, look within their Contact Us section.

Q: How do I report a non-emergency crime or respond to an appeal if 101 is very busy and I can’t wait?
A: In Devon and Cornwall you can email 101 or use our online crime report form. You can also use our LiveChat (linked from the home and contact page) when are agents are logged in.

In Dorset you can email 101 dorset or use their online crime reporting form 

Q: What if I want to speak to someone in person, can I do that?
A: Staff at our Police Enquiry Offices would be very pleased to help you, but to avoid an unnecessary journey, check locations and opening hours here for Devon and Cornwall: Police Enquiry Offices

And on the visit us page for Dorset:

Q: What if I’m not sure that what I’m asking about is a police matter?
A: We ask that you #ThinkBeforeYouCall

In Devon and Cornwall use AskNED, our non-emergency directory. This will indicate which agency locally can help you best, such as in the case of civil matters such as noisy neighbours, parking, stray dogs and dog fouling and so on. AskNED also contains answers from the national Ask the Police service.

Q: How can I be the first to know about crime alerts and appeals in my area?
A: Register for free and with no obligation to Devon and Cornwall Alert or Dorset Alert. These two way community messaging services keep you in the know by email, text or phone.

Q: Do people genuinely call the police about things that are nothing to do with them?
A: We’re afraid they do. Just this year Devon and Cornwall Police received calls from a person who had been given the wrong pizza, one who wanted to know where to catch a coach and another from a woman who thought she might run out of air in her car (she was on dry land). You can listen to the sound files from a news article written to appeal to people to think before they call.

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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