Alumni Spotlight: DC Elisabeth Dane, Internet Child Abuse Team, Avon and Somerset Police
Friday 27th April 2023
Detective Constable Elisabeth Dane joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2019 via Police Now’s National Detective Programme.
Working in the force’s Criminal Investigation Department, she worked to support victims and solve crime ranging from child abuse, county lines drug dealing and violence, rape, and online crime. Since completing Police Now’s programme, she has completed the Specialist Sexual Assault Investigators Development Programme (SSAIDP) and Specialist Child Abuse Investigators Development Programme (SCAIDP).
Now an officer in the Internet Child Abuse Team (ICAT), she works with internal teams and the force’s ‘digi-dogs’ to investigate and arrest criminals who target children online.
In this month’s Alumni Spotlight she talks about her journey in policing so far, the support she has provided to victims of crime and her advice to others considering a career in the service.
“I joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2019 via Police Now, on the first ever cohort of the National Detective Programme. I had spent some time travelling in Asia after graduating from the University of Birmingham with a degree in English, and I was looking for an exciting and challenging new career. Becoming a detective sounded like the perfect role to push and develop me, whilst helping to protect the public and put dangerous criminals behind bars.
“After completing Police Now’s academy training and spending some time on the Response team, getting to know the area, I landed in my role in the force’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for the remainder of the programme. In CID I worked with my colleagues to investigate and solve crime ranging from child abuse, county lines drug dealing and violence, and online crime. Sometimes people assume that, because I am based out in the country rather than in the city, I don’t deal with a wide range of serious crime. That is definitely not the case! We have all the same crime and problems as a city and manage a high and varied caseload.
“In CID, I often dealt with sexual offences or cases relating to Violence Against Women and Girls, and it meant a lot to me when I could make a difference for victims and bring serious offenders to justice. For example, I worked on securing justice for a young rape victim whose vulnerability had been horrifically taken advantage of. The case particularly stood out because of the rapport I built with the victim, and I am still in contact with her to this day. Having to deal with the trauma of the event, particularly whilst also dealing with the first Covid lockdowns, meant the support we could provide her was invaluable. Despite those challenges, we saw the case go to trial and secured a conviction against the offender, which was a proud moment for me. For me, the most enjoyable aspect of the job is seeing a case all the way through – from coming into the office, to identifying and interviewing the suspect right through to getting the case to trial and securing a conviction by a jury.
“Since completing Police Now’s programme, I have continued to learn and develop as a detective. I completed a number of courses including the Specialist Sexual Assault Investigators Development Programme (SSAIDP) and the Specialist Child Abuse Investigators Development Programme (SCAIDP). This has allowed me to move into the force’s Internet Child Abuse Team (ICAT), where I am currently based.
“In ICAT, I am in a more suspect-focused role, which often requires me to come at cases with a different kind of thinking. We investigate and arrest rings of online criminals who target children and seek to exploit their vulnerabilities. Alongside colleagues and specialist teams across the force, such as officers trained to examine digital devices, we gather intelligence and evidence and execute warrants. We even work with the force’s ‘digi-dogs’ – called PD Jack and PD Watson – who are trained to sniff out hidden electronic devices. I worked with PD Jack during a recent warrant and he managed to find a very well-hidden USB stick.
“I am still new to the team and looking forward to utilising the training available to me as I learn how to use different machines and software. I am always looking for ways to further my knowledge and training and in future I hope to also train as Family Liaison Officer. These officers support families who have lost loves ones in tragic or horrific incidents ranging from road traffic accidents and murder. Although that kind of work is incredibly emotionally challenging, I am passionate about supporting others and it is ultimately why I joined the service.
“I am also now supporting two student officers in force, as they work towards becoming detective constables themselves. Being a detective is incredibly challenging and I remember how I felt when I first joined. The support I received from senior colleagues, as well as from my Police Now Performance and Development Coach, gave me the confidence to keep going and I’m glad I can now use my experiences to support others.
“My advice to others considering joining the service with Police Now is to always keep a positive mindset and ask for support when you need it. A passion for helping people and making a difference is key to succeeding. It will be challenging and you will push yourself, but you will be amazed at how much you can learn and develop. It’s a career like no other – go for it.”