Tuesday 25 June 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

First Response

First Response

Meet the Police Radio members on call for the community.

Recent horrors in Bondi Junction and Wakeley have shown NSW how valuable the PSA’s members in Police Radio are to the state.

Their work keeps Police Officers informed of events on the ground.

“These are the very definition of frontline workers,” said PSA CPSU NSW General Secretary Stewart Little. “Their quick actions save lives.”

Sharday Stirton (right) is a Radio Dispatcher, one of the people praised by NSW Police as “Triple Zero Heroes” after the recent knife attacks.

“In my role as a Police Dispatcher, I serve as the link between Police Officers in the field and the community,” she said. “Every day brings a diverse array of challenges, from parking complaints to high-stakes situations involving armed offenders.

“Despite the unpredictability, I find immense fulfilment in the dynamic nature of the job and those I share it with.

“A central aspect of my role involves speaking directly with Police on duty, coordinating their responses to unfolding incidents in real-time.”

Ms Stirton admits the sometimes- harrowing communications they deal with can take their toll on members.

“My colleagues approach workplace trauma with a combination of support systems and coping mechanisms,” she said. “Firstly, there’s a strong culture of peer support within the team. We understand the challenges of the job and lean on each other for emotional support and understanding.

“In addition to the professional support services available, such as counselling and mental health resources, there’s a recognition within our organisation of the potential impact of repeated exposure to traumatic events. While these resources are invaluable, there’s a prevailing sentiment among Police Dispatchers that more proactive measures are needed to address the unique challenges we face.

“What’s needed is a shift towards a more proactive approach in supporting mental well-being. This entails regular check-ins with Psychologists as a preventive measure, rather than waiting for individuals to be prompted by specific calls or incidents. By normalising proactive mental health support and prioritising the well-being of Dispatchers, we can mitigate the risk of burnout and reduce the incidence of mental illness within our ranks.

“I really love my job and those I work around. I believe the challenges we are facing can be easily resolved with a better understanding of the complexities of our role and what we’re asking for. Our primary goal is to perform our duties to the best of our ability, prioritising the safety and well-being of the public and our officers in the field.

“We’re all striving for the same outcome.”

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