Control Room Awards launched to celebrate unsung heroes of the emergency services

West Yorkshire Police, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 08 November, 2017. Pictured: Debbie Griffiths, Call handler.

A company specialising in mission critical solutions for the emergency services has launched the first awards to recognise and celebrate unsung heroes working behind the scenes in control rooms across the UK.

APD Communications develops critical, life-saving software used by emergency services organisations across the country, as well as transport and aviation operators nationally and internationally. The company’s market-leading software protects the public and emergency services personnel and ensures the efficient, continuous operation of services vital to public safety and security.

APD has launched the Control Room Awards 2018 to recognise the life-saving and life-changing work of control room staff working for the emergency services and within a wide range of public and private sector organisations. The awards are the first to recognise the achievements of control room staff in their day-to-day duties, often dealing with harrowing and distressing situations.

Managing Director Mike Isherwood, APD,  said, “These awards are about publicly acknowledging the amazing people who work in emergency and critical control rooms everywhere. They play a vital role in keeping members of the public safe and their work often saves lives. We see first-hand the extraordinary work of individuals and teams in emergency services control rooms and in critical operations across the public and private sectors and we felt we should do something to recognise their vital contribution. The awards will thank them for the outstanding and unseen work they do, day in, day out.”

The APD Control Room Awards 2018 feature nine categories: The Award for Services to the Public; The Lifetime Achievement Award; Control Room Dispatcher of the Year; Control Room Call Taker of the Year; The Community Champion Award; Young Achiever of the Year; Leader of the Year; Special Recognition Award for Bravery and Courage; and Team of the Year.

West Yorkshire Police is among the emergency services organisations backing the awards. Tom Donohoe, Customer Contact Centre Head for West Yorkshire Police, said, “People remember the officers on the scene at a major incident – they don’t always recognise that, more than likely, the response began with the skilled handling of a call into a police control room. In such incidents it’s down to a call handler to stay calm, take down the details, assess the risks and look after the officers going out to the incident, by making sure they know what they are going into. All of that can sometimes go unnoticed. I’m a really big supporter of these new awards – they are long overdue. Our control room staff and their counterparts around the country do great work, every single day, and that deserves to be recognised.”

West Yorkshire Police Call Handler Deborah Griffiths illustrates the crucial role of control room staff in responding to the most serious incidents. Deborah took the first call from an eye witness alerting police to the fatal attack on MP Jo Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, in June 2016, and played a vital role in apprehending and securing the conviction of the killer, Thomas Mair. She said, “I’m really pleased these awards are being held as the public don’t really understand what we do on a daily basis. Some of the calls we receive are about minor matters, but many of them are extremely harrowing. We deal with them because that’s our job – we’re here to look after the public and our colleagues, the officers. Control room staff don’t look for recognition, but it’s a good thing they will be acknowledged by these awards. People don’t appreciate the amount of skill, empathy and caring goes into handling the calls we take.”

The Control Room Awards ceremony will take place on 8 March 2018 at the De Vere Orchard Hotel in Nottingham. Finalists and a select group of guests will enjoy an evening of celebration, reward and recognition.

Guests will be treated to a three-course dinner, followed by live entertainment. The cost of shortlisted nominees’ tickets will be covered, making it possible for all finalists to attend.

Nominations for the Control Room Awards are open until 18 January 2018, with the awards shortlists scheduled to be revealed on 1 February 2018.

To nominate an individual or team for the APD Control Room Awards, visit https://www.controlroomawards.com/nominate/

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the awards, visit https://www.controlroomawards.com/sponsors/ for more information.

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