“I joined Essex Police via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2017, after some time working in the care sector as a healthcare assistant, support worker, and a dementia lead support coordinator.
“Whilst I was on the programme I worked as a Neighbourhood Police Officer in Colchester, where I led on several key pieces of work over the course of the two years.
“A project that stands out is the work I did to tackle bicycle thefts during my first year on the programme, due to a significant increase in these incidents across Colchester Town in the summer of 2017. I implemented targeted patrols in theft hotspots and worked with local shops, the local councillor and the Cycle Network to raise awareness of the issues and encourage the public to purchase more secure bike locks and record serial numbers. We also identified a second-hand shop which was selling stolen bicycles and ensured that officers intervened. Bicycle theft in the area dropped by 50% by November 2017 compared to 2016. A total of eight people were charged with theft or handling stolen bicycles, with a further five receiving a community resolution.
“After graduating the programme, I worked as a Temporary Sergeant for the summer in the force’s Domestic Abuse team, gaining valuable leadership experience and working alongside some fantastic colleagues. My job was to risk assess our domestic incidents and set actions to support the victims and their families and gather evidence to get cases to court. Sometimes the evidence just isn’t there, so I learned ways we could still support victims through working with partner support agencies or using court orders.
“Since then, I have moved into Colchester’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) where I was accredited as a Detective Constable. I realised I wanted to train as a detective and support some of our most vulnerable victims in Essex, after completing an internal attachment within CID whilst I was still on the Police Now programme. I have been in the department for about two and a half years now, working alongside my colleagues to investigate serious and complex crimes.
“In CID you are often working across multiple investigations at once, and you have to carefully manage a demanding workload. A case I worked when I joined the team was in response to a knife attack in an Asda car park. A man had approached a woman and her small child and threatened them with a knife, trying to force them into the car. The woman managed to scream and the man fled, but we were able to make a swift arrest.
“The victim suffered with severe PTSD following the incident and I wanted her to get the justice she deserved, and to protect other people in the community from this offender. I lead the investigation, went to every court hearing and worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and counsel to provide the necessary evidence and argue our case – all whilst offering support to the victim. The suspect pleaded guilty and was convicted to four years in prison. The phone call to the victim to tell her gave me the biggest job satisfaction. It meant she could get on with her life and reinforced the outstandingly positive impact you can have on a person’s life in this job.
“Another case I worked on was a ‘road rage’ incident. The suspect got himself into an incident with someone who had substantial hearing impairment. He didn’t take the time to work this out and, frustrated at the victim for not answering him, he punched him. This resulted in some long-lasting injuries to the victim. I spoke to the victim through a colleague who spoke BSL (British Sign Language) to get the best evidence from him to build the case. The suspect was found guilty at court and was given a substantial fine, ordered to pay compensation to the victim and was made to carry out 80 hours of community service. Although not a hefty sentence compared to some, I don’t think he’ll do it again and the victim was genuinely grateful for the efforts we put into the case. Victim satisfaction means so much to me and really drives all my policing. Even if we don’t prosecute, I want to do my best so I know the victim is safe and impressed with the service they receive.
“Since graduating the programme and moving into CID, I have also worked with Police Now as a Syndicate Lead at their National Graduate Leadership Programme training academy in the summer of 2020. This was a challenging role as it was during the peak of the first COVID-19 lockdown, so a lot of the work was done digitally or in ‘bubbles.’ However, I really enjoyed supporting and training my new Police Now colleagues and it was a great chance for me to refresh a lot of my own learning too.
“I think joining through the Police Now programme allowed me to gain a wide range of experience, not just through my role as a neighbourhood officer – which is so varied in itself – but also through the external secondment with the Home Office that Police Now facilitated, and the internal attachment I was able to undertake within CID.
“I have full plans to stay within policing, the job is interesting and varied but most of all it allows me to help people and make a real impact in society. My next step would be to go for promotion from Detective Constable to Detective Sergeant, so I will work hard this year to achieve that.
“Police Now taught me to be bold and just do it! That’s how you will leave a legacy in policing. If you have an idea, do your research. If it still looks like a good idea, take action. There will be a lot of obstacles and ‘walls of no’, but I think you have to see past that and have the confidence to continue. Never settle for ‘because we’ve always done it that way’. There are always people willing to help you in this job, of all ranks and roles. As long as you’re trying to do the right thing for the right reasons, you can’t go far wrong.”