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Ex-car salesman revved up for new role as emergency call handler

April 7, 2021
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A former car salesman is revving with excitement as he gears up to take on the role of an emergency call handler in Nottinghamshire Police’s control room.

Training got off to a bumpy start for 23-year-old Joe Askam – he was only three days into his course when he broke his ankle while out on an early morning run.

Despite the setback determined Joe was back inside the classroom within hours and has since made a strong recovery.

Before he applied to join the force as a call handler, Joe was selling new and used Kias in the Chilwell/Beeston area.

He is hoping his negotiation and customer service skills will stand him in good stead when he starts his first shifts in the control room on 8 April 2021, initially supported by a tutor as he gets to grips with his new role.

Joe said: “I’m really excited about going into the control room and I have a lot of respect and admiration for those who are already doing the job.

“I was on furlough at the time of applying for the position and being in lockdown made me think about how I wanted to help people.

”I’m loving every minute of the training. It’s been really diverse and interesting and has covered a lot of different subjects. 

“It’s also nice to be able to watch Line of Duty now understand some of the things they’re saying!

“We’ve also done a lot of role-playing as part of our training and every week we make a report mentioning how we’ve found the sessions and asking any questions we might have.

“Every week each of us has an informal one-to-one interview with our mentors where we can discuss any issues if we don’t want to speak up in class.

“You can tell they really do care and want us to do well which is brilliant.”

He added: “I’m very happy to be here. One day I’d like to become a police officer.

“When I was looking at the role of a call handler I thought it would be the closest thing to being a police officer without being on the streets.

“Hopefully I can build up my knowledge and experience in the control room and work my may up the ranks.”

Joe fell into the job of a car salesman, working under his dad, after graduating from Birmingham City University with a 2:1 degree in criminology in 2018.

He said: “I’ve always been customer-focused. Working as a salesman helped me to build up confidence and know how to talk to people.

“While that job was financially rewarding, it wasn’t very emotionally rewarding.

“Now I’m hoping I can use my previous experience and skills to help people as a call handler.

“I know I’m going to be put into a lot of situations that are difficult to deal with but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Superintendent Suk Verma, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We are excited to be recruiting new colleagues from a wide range of backgrounds who will bring their own unique skills and professional and life experiences to an organisation which values diversity, helping us to be truly representative of the communities we serve.

“I’d like to welcome our new recruits to the force and I wish them all the very best as they embark on the next chapter of their policing journey.”

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