Alumni Spotlight: Police Sergeant Andrew Grant tackles drug crime and youth offending
Tuesday 31st October 2023
Andrew Grant joined Thames Valley Police in 2019 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. As a neighbourhood police officer in Slough, he worked to tackle drug-dealing in the area, including seizing £7,000 worth of Class A drugs during an operation. The offender is currently serving his five-and-a-half-year sentence behind bars.
He also focused on reducing youth offending, spending four-weeks conducting research with Edge North East to bring new skills and knowledge back to his frontline role.
Currently a police sergeant and Welfare SPOC (Single Point of Contact) on the Slough Response team, Andrew is supporting his officers to deliver an exceptional service to the public. He will soon be moving into a detective sergeant role, having passed the challenging National Investigators’ Exam earlier this year.
In this month’s Alumni Spotlight, he tells us about his policing journey so far and how he’s glad to have started his career in neighbourhood policing.
Police Sergeant Andrew Grant
“Before joining the police, I studied for an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a master’s in Sustainable Development at the University of Oxford. I then worked in an accountancy firm for two years, but I realised that an office job wasn’t for me. I came across Police Now’s programme instead and it ignited my interest in joining the police service. As a fast-paced but structured graduate route into policing, it seemed like a good way to transition from my studies and office work to a role on the frontline where I could make a tangible difference.
“I joined Thames Valley Police on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2019 and was stationed on Slough’s Problem Solving Team. Whilst on the programme, I focused on a wide range of issues affecting my community including youth offending, knife crime and drug dealing. The role was all about proactive problem-solving to reduce crime and building public trust and confidence in the police service amongst the communities we served. I was also hugely fortunate with the team I joined, it was a fantastic learning environment and I had amazing supervisors and colleagues.
“I was also able to undertake a four-week external secondment to Edge North East as part of Police Now’s programme, which allowed me to take new skills and knowledge back to my frontline role and better tackle youth offending in the area. Edge is an organisation that supports and mentors young people who have been affected by serious youth violence and child criminal exploitation. I spoke to a number of young people about how their adverse childhood experiences affected their later choices and linked in with partner agencies and stakeholders to develop a research report for the organisation.
“After completing the programme, I remained in my neighbourhood policing role for another year and a half. I was heavily involved in an investigation into organised drug supply in Slough. I began managing this when I was a police constable and continued being the Officer in Charge of the operation when I was promoted to an acting sergeant role. We identified a principle suspect in an organised drug supply chain and applied for a warrant for his address, during which we seized £7,000 of Class A drugs from a vehicle parked at the premise as well as phones and a set of scales. I conducted interviews and collated as much evidence as possible, which allowed me to confidently answer questions in the week-long court trial. The offender was found guilty by unanimous decision of possession with intent to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply heroin, being concerned in the supply of cocaine and being concerned in the supply of heroin. He was sentenced to five-and-a-half-years in prison.
“I moved from neighbourhood policing to the Slough Response team as a substantive sergeant in January of this year. I manage officers on the Response team as they work swiftly and tirelessly to protect the public and respond to emergency calls. I am also the Welfare SPOC for Slough, which ties closely in with this sergeant role as it is all about supporting my policing colleagues, so we can collectively deliver a strong service to the public. Policing is a fantastic career, but officers are exposed to difficult and traumatic incidents on the frontline whilst also being stretched for resources, so looking after officer welfare is incredibly important. We recently held a station-wide wellbeing day, with attendees from a number of force-wide support networks including Police Mutual, Thames Valley Police Federation and SAME – a support association for minority ethic staff. I am looking forward to developing the role further and when I move teams again in January next year, I will make sure the Welfare SPOC role remains filled so it can continue to be developed as a long-term project.
“I am moving into a detective role in January, having successfully passed my National Investigators’ Exam earlier this year. I will be joining a priority crime team as a detective sergeant, investigating burglaries and robberies as well as organised crime. Dealing with priority crime has a lot in common with my problem-solving background, as there is a big focus on long-term disruption work to prevent repeat offending, as well as partnership working and offender management. I loved working on long-term project-based work whilst on a neighbourhood team, so I am looking forward to using the skills and knowledge I developed on Police Now’s programme in my new investigative role.
“There is more that interests me in policing than I could do in an entire career, but I am glad I began my journey in neighbourhood policing. It allows you to get to know your community and build a broad skill and knowledge base, which is applicable to so many other roles in the service. I would certainly recommend Police Now to anyone considering joining the police service for this reason, as well as for the networking opportunities it provides.”