The Control Room of the GSCID, a busy communications hub, is abuzz with the sound of ringing phones and the crackle of a handheld radio, all jostling for the Controller’s attention.

GSCID Controller, Anne Job, one of three control room operators who rotate 12 hour shifts, says her calm nature along with patience, diplomacy and the ability to handle pressure, are the key traits she relies on to manage the stressful demands of this position.

Anne job

Job describes her challenging job as one that helps to ensure the safety of the community and students within the GSCID area. Her primary role is receiving information and relaying it to the relevant party for action. She receives incident reports from GSCID officers patrolling the street, as well as complaints from members of the public and then decides how best to deal with the call by alerting relevant parties such as SAPS, Ambulance Services or the relevant City of Cape Town department.

When Job started with the GSCID in April 2013, she says it was “more a case of everything falling into place for her” and using the knowledge and experience she had gained from more than 10 years in similar controller positions with other companies that stood her in good stead and assisted her in settling into her new role.

Job’s current position, however, she is quick to point out is by far the most demanding she has had as she receives on average between 50 to 60 ‘incident reports’ a day, simultaneously juggling with incoming calls from all directions. “These”, she says, “need to be assessed very quickly and dealt with accordingly. Priority is given to emergency situations that need to be dealt with promptly as lives may be in danger. In some cases, she will ask one of the callers to go on standby while she deals with the most critical call on hand.

Over and above taking calls relating to incidents, Job also keeps an accurate record of these in the electronic occurrence book system which records the date, time, name of the person submitting the complaint and the nature of the incident. She also follows up on each incident to ensure that it has been suitably resolved and attended to. This report is then sent on to GSCID Management.

The most difficult aspect of her position are the very long hours, 7am -7pm, or 7pm to 7am,  a 12 hour daily shift, which she finds very taxing. “Abusive callers who vent over the phone are also a tough lot to deal with”, she adds. Thankfully her calm nature enables her to deal appropriately with difficult callers while she tries to extract as much information as possible to enable her to deal with the occurrence.

“Good listening skills are critical in this role”, says Job. She has “developed a good ear” and can now interpret and make sense of most of what is called in, despite some challenging accents which are hard to follow. She finds the position very stimulating as no two days are alike, time passes quickly and she finds that she learns something new almost every day.

Besides the reporting and data capture of all incidents, her duties also include keeping track of the mobile vehicles patrolling within the GSCID precinct, ensuring they adhere to the speed limit and that they stay in within the GSCID boundaries. She also keeps track of the security officers as they clock in and out for their shift and their whereabouts during their deployment throughout the day. All of this information is available to her on screen through state of the art GPS technology.

Anthony Davies, GSCID CEO, praises the vital role the Controllers have within the organisation. “They are the heartbeat of our operations,” he says. “Without them, we would certainly struggle to carry out our operations effectively.”

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