Alumni Spotlight: DC Emma Griffiths, Child Protection Investigation Unit in Greater Manchester Police
Friday 24 June 2022
Emma Griffiths joined Greater Manchester Police in 2019 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme.
She worked as a neighbourhood police officer in Salford over the course of the two-year programme, tackling long-term problems and supporting the Orthodox Jewish community in Broughton.
Emma also undertook a secondment in the Behavioural Science Unit at Ogilvy Consulting and, just after graduating the Police Now programme, passed her National Investigators’ Exam in the ‘exceptional’ category – becoming a Detective Constable.
Emma progressed swiftly into her new role within the Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU), where she currently works on complex investigations to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice.
In this month’s Alumni Spotlight, she tells us how she came to join policing and how her experience as a neighbourhood police officer built the solid foundations she needed to progress into her current role.
Detective Constable Emma Griffiths, National Graduate Leadership Programme alumna
“I joined Greater Manchester Police in 2019 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. After graduating from the University of Exeter with a degree in Psychology, I worked on farms in Australia for a year, in an IT role for Nestle, and then in care roles at a secure psychiatric hospital and a mental health residential home before joining the police.
“It was my experience in care that made me apply, I enjoyed being able to work with young people and the community in these roles and I knew I could take this further as a police officer on the frontline.
“Although I knew that I wanted to become a detective one day, I deliberately decided to apply for the National Graduate Leadership Programme so I could gain more experience working with communities on the frontline first. I am glad I did this, because I truly believe the skills I gained as a neighbourhood police officer opened a lot of doors.
“I was also able to undertake a secondment with Ogilvy Consulting as part of the programme, where I worked on different projects in the Behavioural Science Unit including with banks, on health campaigns and with another police force. It was great fun, and I ended up presenting about my learning to other Police Now programme participants.
“As a neighbourhood officer on the Salford North-East Neighbourhood Policing Team, I worked with a range of community partners to tackle long-term problems and I was exposed to varied and complex crimes across the city. I also worked a lot with the Orthodox Jewish community in Broughton. For example, on certain religious days the community didn’t use electronics, which made communicating with the police difficult. I ran an operation to provide extra police presence, including leading high-visibility patrols throughout the neighbourhood and placing cars in set areas so people knew where to find us.
“Being on the frontline and working with people every single day in the community helped me develop my listening, communication and empathy skills and my understanding of how different communities and cultures work. I learnt how to work with partner agencies, organise projects across multiple teams and think holistically about how to engage with my community. These are all key policing skills which I’ve used in every policing role I’ve had since.
“Towards the end of the programme I moved into an adult safeguarding role whilst studying for the National Investigator’s Exam – which I was thrilled to pass in the ‘exceptional’ category last year, just after graduating the programme.
“I am now a Detective Constable in Salford, where I work in the Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU).
“The role involves seeing complex investigations through from start to finish and working with partner agencies, such as social services and schools, to ensure that the child(ren) involved are protected from further harm. I often deal with offences that have been committed online, where people engage with children on social media in an inappropriate manner.
“I am working on a case like this now involving Snapchat, we have arrested a suspect and I’m working with my colleagues in the Digital Investigation Unit to analyse the phone data so we can compile a complete criminal case file. I have worked with Children’s Services to ensure the child is being safeguarded while the investigation continues, and we also worked with the child to educate them on the dangers of social media and signs of criminal behaviour.
“When I look back on my policing journey so far, I’m amazed at how much I have learnt in just a few years. Each role poses new challenges, in the CPIU I’ve had to learn how to build rapport with children and how to adapt my questioning style, which is very different to questioning adults. Sometimes I engage with young children who can’t always speak or communicate effectively yet, which poses an added challenge when trying to gather information and evidence. I know it’s cliché to say, but no two days are the same in policing and I have learnt something valuable from each role I’ve had.”