Alumni Spotlight: PC Olivia Dixon, Eastern Region Special Operations Unit
Friday 29 April 2022
Police Constable Olivia Dixon shares her policing journey, from being a neighbourhood police officer to joining the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, for this month’s Alumni Spotlight.
Oliva joined Hertfordshire Constabulary via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2017, where she worked as a neighbourhood police officer in Stevenage and won a county wide award for her exceptional contribution to the ‘Mini Police’ scheme. She also completed a secondment with the Centre for Social Justice before graduating the programme, when she then moved onto the force’s response team and joined ‘Operation Scorpion’.
She has recently joined the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, where she will be supporting large-scale operations to identify and disrupt organised crime groups whilst she works towards becoming a detective constable, having recently passed both the Sergeants’ exam and the National Investigators’ Exam.
PC Olivia Dixon (front, middle), running the 'Mini Police' project as a neighbourhood police officer
Police Constable Olivia Dixon:
“I studied Physical Geography at the University of Durham and then worked for a year as a healthcare assistant, before joining Hertfordshire Constabulary via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. I had always been interested in the police and when I came across Police Now’s advert it gave me the push I needed to finally apply.
“Whilst I was on the programme I worked as a neighbourhood police officer in Stevenage. I engaged with a lot of local schools in this role, building relationships with young people in the community. One of my favourite projects that I ran was a scheme called Mini Police. Mini Police is a fun and interactive volunteering opportunity for children aged between 9 and 11. The programme, which originated in Durham, aims to build trust with communities, promote responsible citizenship and help young people establish an interest and understanding in policing and community safety. I introduced the scheme in Stevenage where I took it to every primary school in my neighbourhood.
“Over 10 weeks I taught 150 children a variety of topics including police procedures and the law, anti-social behaviour and its impact on communities, personal safety, road safety and cyber safety. I also introduced new topics to the scheme, including making a workshop for the children to be educated on the drugs that they may be exposed to when reaching secondary school and the consequences of taking them. They also learnt more about careers in the police and got to try on some of the equipment, with an interactive reward at the end of the scheme – they visited the police station and custody suite, meeting some on-duty officers.
“The scheme was a huge success, I created a strong link with the schools that was not there prior and was invited to come back to do one-on-one sessions. Children across my neighbourhood continually recognised me whilst I was on patrol or at incidents for years after, many who I did not even teach but knew me simply because of my presence at the schools. I also spoke about the scheme on BBC Three Counties radio and won the county wide award for my ‘exceptional contribution to scheme’.
“Whilst on Police Now’s programme, I also completed a four-week secondment to the Centre for Social Justice. In this role I attended and helped to run events. I also undertook research, looking into the patterns and factors that make young people vulnerable and how this links to crime, which kick-started a new project for the think-tank.
PC Olivia Dixon on duty at the Eden Project
“I graduated Police Now’s programme in 2019 and moved onto the response team for a year and a half. I was then part of a local plain-clothed proactive unit – Operation Scorpion – mainly executing warrants and stop-searches based on intelligence received from colleagues across the force and members of the public. One memorable job was when a colleague and I spotted a vehicle, having triggered the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera, with a suspected wanted male inside who was also a known drug dealer. Calling other specialist units to assist, we located the vehicle and when the male failed to stop a pursuit ensued. The pursuit ended by tactical contact against his vehicle, when I subsequently arrested him after finding a large amount of cash and drugs in the vehicle. In total he was convicted of five different offences.
“I have recently moved into the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU). This unit covers seven police forces across the eastern region and works to tackle serious organised crime and terrorism. ERSOU is split into two main functions: regional organised crime unit (ROCU) and counter terrorism policing (CTP). I have joined the ROCU, where I will be working alongside colleagues to identify and disrupt organised criminals operating across the eastern region. We tackle a range of crimes including drug and firearms importation and supply.
“I only moved into the unit in February so am still training in this role, where I will focus on gathering intelligence to support large-scale operations. Although I am new to the role, I am already really enjoying it. I feel I have finally found my niche and fallen into the right place for me within policing.
“The experience I gained whilst on Police Now’s programme was invaluable when I was applying for this role. As a neighbourhood police officer, you really get stuck into evidence-based policing and research, community problem-solving and project work. I drew on a lot of examples of my neighbourhood policing work in my job interview for ERSOU.
“I have recently passed both the Sergeant’s exam and the National Investigators Exam. So, for the foreseeable future, I will be working towards becoming a Detective Constable (and hopefully a Detective Sergeant in the long-term!) and using my new investigative skills to support ERSOU operations, to safeguard the public from serious organised crime.”