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Posted on Friday 11 February 2022
Durham UK

Durham Constabulary’s quick-thinking control room team helped save a woman in immediate danger more than 3,000 miles away in Canada after an intruder got into her home. 

The force was contacted on Wednesday afternoon using the online Live Chat facility by a distressed woman who reported an intruder trying to get into her home in Durham, Canada. 

The distraught victim was able to convey to us that she needed help and then the communication stopped.

Realising she meant to contact a different Durham police force, the calm call handler kept the chat open, while Control Room colleagues contacted officers at Durham Regional Police Service in the province of Ontario. 

Canadian officers were sent to the scene in the town of Ajax and found a 35-year-old man inside the house. 

The suspect fled but was eventually cornered in a nearby yard where he refused to obey officers’ requests and during the altercation was tasered. He was then arrested, approximately 30 minutes after his victim first contacted police on the other side of the Atlantic. 

His rescued victim received medical attention for her injuries, while her attacker has now been charged with a string of offences including breaking and entering, assault, forcible confinement and disobeying a lawful order of court. 

Inspector Andrea Arthur, head of the force control room, said: “This was an unusual incident and a very distressing situation for the victim, but the team remained calm and managed to help our Canadian colleagues resolve the situation quickly and professionally. 

“If we can assist in rescuing a vulnerable victim in immediate danger, regardless of where they live, we will do all we can to help. In this case, we’re glad to learn there has been an arrest and, more importantly, the victim is out of danger and receiving the help she needs. 

“Our call handlers deal with hundreds of contacts from members of the public each day, some of them more straightforward than others, and always do their best to serve the public, wherever they may be.” 

Inspector Paul Hallett, unit leader of Communications/9-1-1 at Durham Regional Police stated: “This is certainly a success story of international cooperation between two police communication centres separated by tremendous distance.

"We are grateful for the assistance of our Durham Constabulary colleagues in ensuring we received this critical information, making it possible for our Durham Regional Police Service communicators to provide this caller with the timely emergency police response they required.”

Could you stay calm under pressure and use your initiative to solve problems quickly? 

Durham Constabulary are recruiting call handlers for one of the most demanding but vital jobs in policing. 

If you think you’ve got what it takes to join our team, find out more here

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