Control room manager’s national recognition for inspirational leadership
- Credit: Archant
Phil Quickenden has been on the receiving end of some gentle ribbing from colleagues in the Suffolk police control room lately.
“They keep putting up pictures of the award,” said the 37-year-old, pulling down another stealthily placed photo of the national trophy he received for leadership.
The good-natured teasing reflects an environment he began instilling at Martlesham Heath HQ after moving from Thames Valley Police four years ago.
“We’re often the unseen part of the chain of events,” said Mr Quickenden, a civilian supervisor responsible for managing Suffolk’s 999 and 101 call hub. Officers are the ones who put themselves in danger, and it’s right that we recognise that, but we often deal with very emotional situations, and the impact can be as significant on our staff.”
Mr Quickenden was a special constable and spent 11 years in Thames Valley’s Oxford control room before moving with his wife and two sons to Wickham Market. He was just named Leader of the Year at the APD Control Room Awards, where judges called him “an inspirational leader who values his staff greatly and gains their buy-in for his vision”.
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Along with Chief Inspector Matt Rose, he led a 24-hour ‘Tweetathon’ of incidents in December – receiving more than a million social media interactions.
“Matt and I share a passion for spreading understanding of the work we do,” he said. “It allowed us to promote the difference between 999 and 101.
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“We’ve seen a 19% rise in demand on 999, and although we’re answering 91% of calls inside 10 seconds, the impact of someone using it when they don’t need to can be significant. It was a good way to publicise other ways to reach us – like reporting online. A positive response is really important. We have 140 full-time equivalent department staff on rotating shifts, so my job is partly about keeping them motivated to be as efficient as possible.
“Our colleagues are a bit like a second family. We have shared values and mutual support.”
Mr Quickenden helped review recruitment to ensure candidates understand the pressures of the job. He is also the constabulary’s ‘wellbeing champion’, and recommends a regular pattern of sleep and healthy eating to staff.
“Because of the hours we work, one of the best parts of our job is never queuing at amusement parks or doing the supermarket shop on a Saturday,” he said.