Emergency Preparedness and Neighbourhood Policing in London
Alumni Spotlight: PC Alex Jenks
Monday 29th January 2024
Alex Jenks joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 2019 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, deciding to make a move from his career in teaching to train and work as a neighbourhood officer in West Ham.
He also undertook a coveted secondment to the force’s Firearms Unit and has since worked on a sexual offences investigation team and in the Public Order Planning team’s Emergency Preparedness Unit. With support from Police Now’s Frontline Leadership Programme, he has recently passed the promotion process and is awaiting his sergeant posting.
In this month’s Alumni Spotlight, he tells us about his Police Now training and frontline work, including supporting a victim of ‘cuckooing’, identifying a suspect in a rape investigation, supporting major national policing events and delivering interoperability training to inspector rank and above across the emergency services.
Police Constable Alex Jenks:
“I joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 2019 as an officer on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. Before joining, I had worked as a primary school teacher in Birmingham for just over four years. It was quite a change to make but I have no regrets. Teaching had been very rewarding, but I was looking for something with a bit more excitement where I could continue to make a difference to people’s lives. Policing was the perfect answer.
“Police Now’s two-year programme began with an intensive training academy and a period on the Response unit before we landed in our neighbourhood policing teams. I was stationed in East London on West Ham’s Safer Neighbourhood Team. Community policing in a diverse city like London meant I was exposed to a variety of different jobs, community partners and investigations. One case I worked on was supporting a victim of ‘cuckooing’ – which is when a criminal exploits someone’s vulnerabilities to take over their address for criminal purposes. Reports of anti-social behaviour from neighbouring residents had also increased as a result of associated drug-related criminality at the address. I gathered evidence and utilised legislation around property use and ownership to successfully apply for a Closure Order for the address, which prevented non-residents from entering the property without valid reason. As a result, we saw a reduction in reports of ASB and the victim was better protected as I worked with local authorities to ensure they were supported throughout. Seeing the positive impact that made on their life was a highlight of my early policing career.
“Police Now’s programme also supported me with a six-week internal attachment the force’s Firearms Unit, investigating shootings in London. It’s unusual to get the opportunity to work in firearms at such an early stage of your policing career, and it gave me a chance to develop my investigative skills and consider future career options in firearms or detective roles.
“After completing the programme, I went on a six-month attachment to one of the force’s detective teams, investigating serious sexual assaults and rape. I worked with the team to successfully identify a suspect in a rape investigation. Together, we swiftly processed the evidence and located key witnesses for interview. Within a short period of time, the suspect was arrested, charged and remanded.
“I then landed in my current role in the Emergency Preparedness Unit in the Public Order Planning team. I work in a small but dedicated team in Lambeth which prepares for major incidents in London, including delivering training and offering advice to senior officers. The role requires strong partnership and multi-agency working, which are skills I developed as a neighbourhood officer working with community partners on a daily basis. I deliver Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) training to inspector rank officers and above, across police, fire and ambulance services as well as other local authorities. I have also worked on national teams to provide reviews and debriefs after national policing events, which have included the state funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the subsequent Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and The Queen Consort.
“Last October, I began Police Now’s Frontline Leadership Programme – a one year course designed to improve leadership skills and prepare officers for promotion. After working hard on the programme and in my policing role, I am delighted to say that I recently passed the promotion process and am now currently awaiting my sergeant posting. I am excited about where this will take me in future as I continue working to support residents in London and make the city a safer place to live.”