Inspirational Sutton police call handler scoops top prize

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A SUTTON police call handler who deals with 999 emergencies despite being blind has defied the odds again to win a national award.

Carmen Glover (39) is believed to be the first person without sight to take 999 calls at any police force in the country.

Colleagues say Carmen is a ‘true inspiration’ for the way she overcomes her disability to work in the fast-paced environment of a police control room.

Now she has come out on top after representing Nottinghamshire Police in the Outstanding Achievement category at the Call Centre Management (CCM) awards ceremony in Manchester on Thursday.

After the ceremony, Carmen said: “I am over-whelmed at receiving this award and I am so proud of what I have achieved.

“I feel that this is a team effort that has enabled me to get up and running and I would like to express my thanks to them. It is great to be recognised by the CCM Awards for our achievements.”

Working from the Nottinghamshire Police control room in Mansfield, Carmen takes emergency calls which could range from someone being held at knife-point to a person with mental health problems seeking help.

The former lawyer started training for the demanding role after deciding on a change of career when she moved to the area a few years ago from Bolton.

With the help of specially developed technology, Carmen is able to undertake the job just as well as her fully-sighted colleagues.

She uses computer software called ‘Jaws’, which speaks to Carmen through a headset in one ear and enables her to navigate around the controls in order to quickly help the caller.

Operators dealing with 999 calls need to be logged in to a different system and use a touch screen, which means Carmen has to use a simple piece of plastic with holes in it, to ‘feel’ the screen.

Louise Ogden, a control room manager who nominated Carmen for the award, said: “Carmen is a true inspiration. She is a top performer on our shift, and is proof of what you can achieve if you really want something.

“The force is lucky to have her, she is one in a million and her determination to succeed encourages all those around her.

“She never gives up and is keen for someone to invent a way for blind people to read maps, as she wants to become a dispatcher who controls the radio operations for police officers.

At the awards, Nottinghamshire Police’s Jo Ilyk was also a runner up in the national emergency control room manager of the year category.

And Pauline Smith, head of contact centre operations, was given an award for outstanding support of the UK call centre industry.

Chief Constable Julia Hodson said: “Yet again this is an example of the wonderful people we have working for Nottinghamshire Police. I am proud of their achievements and they are clearly an inspiration to us all.”