Alumni Spotlight: Police Sergeant Ella Starbuck, Greater Manchester Police
Friday 22nd December 2023
Ella Starbuck joined Greater Manchester Police in 2019 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, which recruits, trains and develops talented graduates to become outstanding community policing leaders.
As a neighbourhood police officer in Prestwich, she worked as the Hospital Liaison Officer for one of the largest mental health institutions in Manchester, improving the local police-NHS relationship to better support and safeguard staff. She also secured funding for a law enforcement support charity during her external secondment to the Home Office.
Since completing Police Now’s programme, she has worked in an investigative team to tackle burglaries and acquisitive crime and supported frontline officers as a sergeant on the Bury Response team. Now back in a neighbourhood policing role, she tells us more about the impact she has made from the frontline in this month’s Alumni Spotlight.
Police Sergeant Ella Starbuck
“I hadn’t considered joining the police before I found out about Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. At the time, I was working for a college doing student recruitment and marketing, having graduated from Leeds University with a history degree the year before. Within that role, I would sometimes meet refugees and asylum seekers looking for further education grants. We weren’t always able to help however, and I hated that feeling. I knew I wanted to move into the social services sector to find a role which was completely dedicated to supporting the public and where I could make a real difference to people’s lives.
“A former colleague at the college came to visit one day and mentioned that they had joined Police Now’s programme. It was the first I had heard of it but upon further research I realised the structured programme – which focused on supporting the public and long-term problem-solving in society – was exactly the opportunity I had been waiting for. I was delighted to gain a place on the programme and join Greater Manchester Police in 2019.
“After completing the training academy and spending some time on Response, I landed in the Prestwich Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) for the remainder of the two-year programme. I quickly took on the new role of Hospital Liaison Officer for one of the largest mental health institutions in Manchester. I looked at how we could improve trust and confidence with staff at the facility and better support them in their roles while they cared for vulnerable and sometimes aggressive patients. I did this by improving and streamlining communication and reporting processes between the local police and the hospital, including better utilising the Mentally Vulnerable Offenders Panel. I also spent time educating hospital staff on police procedures and vice versa, so we all understood the options available. While I was in the role we saw an increased rate of positive outcomes for serious cases, which enabled staff to continue their excellent care in a safer environment.
“Whilst on the programme, Police Now also facilitated a four-week external secondment to the Home Office’s Governance and Secretariat team, in the Crime Strategy and Performance Unit. I developed a better understanding of how high-level discussions and examination of data impacts frontline activity and how government examines specific drivers of crime. I also wrote an Annual Grant Evaluation Report for a Voluntary Sector Crime Reduction Grant, which resulted in the re-awarding of funding to a charity supporting law enforcement agencies. Having made useful connections and better learnt how funding is secured for policing initiatives, I was able to share useful information with my NPT upon my return.
“Shortly after completing Police Now’s programme, I moved into a new team specifically investigating burglaries and acquisitive crime. It was a brilliant role, where I developed my investigative skills by looking at complex neighbourhood investigations. This included a collaborative operation, investigating a series of nine linked offences of burglary, theft and vehicle crime, whereby elderly members of the community were targeted. Thanks to our investigation, we were able to identify, arrest and charge two individuals.
“After 18 months on that team, I was very pleased to find out that I had passed my Sergeants’ Exam and subsequently moved onto Bury Response unit. Managing my team of Response officers is something I found incredibly rewarding. Being able to influence how they responded to incidents, the service they provided to the public, and the support they received is where I feel I made a real difference in that team. Response is incredibly challenging, so I endeavoured to support officers’ wellbeing in any way that I could.
“Although I enjoyed that position, I am very happy to have recently moved back to a neighbourhood role on the North Bury NPT. I have enjoyed moving back to neighbourhoods as a sergeant, where I now have more influence over strategic decisions. The team covers a wide area and I am looking forward to focusing again on long-term projects and working with community partners and agencies, to really help transform and mould our local community.”