PC Tamsin Ireland, a Police Now participant, is a neighbourhood police officer working with the Metropolitan Police Service in Hackney. Today she tells us about why she enjoys her role and shares some of the challenges she faces.
“I’m not someone who has always wanted to be a police officer – it just wasn’t something I had ever thought about”
I’ve been working as a police officer in Hackney for just over two months and in that time my attitude towards policing as a career has changed massively. When I started applying I just saw it as something new and different that I would try out for a few years and then probably move on, but now I can’t really imagine wanting to leave the job.
I’m not someone who has always wanted to be a police officer – it just wasn’t something I had ever thought about; I didn’t know anyone in the police and it wasn’t a career that any of my friends were considering. I found out about Police Now while I was studying for my finals in History, and I was attracted to the programme because it seemed about as different as you could get from sitting in a library reading history books. But as I started thinking about it more, I realised that not only would this be so much more active and exciting than many other jobs, but more importantly, it would involve working to try and help people with problems they couldn’t solve themselves. I really liked the idea of the police being there to work for people not against them, and I wanted to be a part of that.
“I love my job”
This has been true of my experience during training and in the first few months working in the police. It’s been a lot more than just a welcome change of pace. These last few months have been so enjoyable, with no two days the same, and always learning new skills. The training was great and very intense, but I don’t think any amount of classroom learning can prepare you- there will always have to be a lot of learning to do on the job, so it hasn’t all been plain sailing. But even when it’s stressful or difficult I am still so happy to be doing it – I remember a day quite early on when I felt frustrated at not being able to get things done as quickly as I wanted to, and still coming home thinking ‘I love my job’.
“The feeling of relying on each other is amazing, and I feel part of this even though I’m new”
Part of this is due to my team. The people I’ve been working with are dedicated and knowledgeable and keen to teach me. The feeling of relying on each other is amazing, and I feel part of this even though I’m new. As a result, my most nerve-wracking experiences have been the first few times going out on my own. Although I’ve experienced more visibly pressured situations since joining the police, it has been when out on my own on a police bicycle, in a high visibility jacket, that I’ve felt the most pressure – anyone can stop you and immediately expect you to be able to help them – but it’s this expectation that also makes the work feel so worthwhile. This feeling of being able to offer something that people genuinely need is enough to make me want to stay in this job, even if it wasn’t also a lot of fun.