Press release

Join the Police: Police Now officer in Essex launches Operation Montreal​

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Join the Police: Police Now officer in Essex launches Operation Montreal

Tuesday 1 February 2022

PC Donadeo has been tackling dangerous driving in Colchester with positive results.

Police Now supports the Home Office uplift programme, with applications now open for its National Graduate Leadership Programme.

Police Now is working in partnership with the Home Office and police forces across the country, including Essex Police, to recruit outstanding officers to the police service in support of the national Police Uplift programme.

The Police Uplift programme has recruited more than 11,000 of the 20,000 new police officers pledged by March 2023 – 965 of which joined via Police Now, and with over 150 further officers due to begin their academy training in March.

Police Constable Donadeo joined Essex Police via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2020, after completing a master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of York.

PC Donadeo said: “I began a PhD in Forensic Science but soon realised I didn’t want to be working in a lab all the time. I decided to apply to frontline policing via Police Now instead. I liked how a neighbourhood policing role would allow me to use the problem-solving skills I developed through my degree, in a more hands-on way.”

Since joining the force she has launched Operation Montreal, using new methods to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) and dangerous driving in Stanway, a suburb to the west of Colchester.

PC Donadeo said: “The focus of the operation is to deter car enthusiasts doing ‘donuts’ and ‘burnouts’ in a car park near to a large number of family homes. It has become a problem because of its inherently dangerous nature and because children living in the homes nearby are being kept awake at night, even describing the noises as sounding like firearms going off.

“To combat the issue, I launched Operation Montreal, which involves deploying plain-clothes police patrols in the car park to gather evidence. Using this evidence, I have been working with traffic officers to pull over cars we know to have been driving dangerously.

“I decided to try a new approach as part of this operation and have been issuing anti-social drivers with Section 59 notices in conjunction with Community Protection Warnings (CPWs), rather than on-the-spot fines.

“If drivers receive two such warnings, their cars can be seized. Moreover, CPWs provide specific conditions that individuals must abide by which, if breached twice, can lead to an arrest and further action. I hope the fear of criminalisation will act as a greater deterrent than fines.

“Using the evidence gathered in our plain-clothes patrols, I have also been able to send letters directly to offenders’ houses to request details – and it is a legal obligation to respond to those. This means that when there aren’t traffic officers available to work near the car park, we are still able to issue CPWs where appropriate. This hasn’t been done before in my area and is allowing us to tackle the issue on a wider scale without needing to use more resources. 

“The operation has been so successful, it has even received the attention of Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose parliamentary constituency, Witham, covers the Stanway area. I am now working with the district council and Essex city council to expand the operation – into Operation Africa – tackling ASB driving in hotspot areas across the rest of Colchester.

“I don’t think a lot of people realise how many deaths are caused by dangerous driving, or how serious and widespread the problem is. I hope to use this as a platform to raise awareness of the risks and consequences.

“I think neighbourhood policing is incredibly important, it makes us visible to the public and allows us to work on community issues that really make a difference to people’s everyday lives. I think it’s a great place to start a career in policing, as you really develop your problem-solving skills and build valuable relationships with your community and teams across the force. I am looking forward to my long-term career with the police and upcoming placement with the National Crime Agency. I am taking Arabic lessons in my spare time to further develop my language skills – I currently speak English, Spanish and Italian – which will help me in any policing role, whether that be in neighbourhoods or internationally focus.”

Applications for the National Graduate Leadership Programme have now opened, alongside the launch of the Home Office’s new advertisement campaign which calls on people to ‘join the police to make a difference.’ The structured, two-year programme supports graduates in neighbourhood policing roles across England and Wales.

Clare Power, Recruitment and Marketing Director at Police Now, said: “We believe that neighbourhood policing is vital in supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our society. In a neighbourhood policing role, officers can become leaders in society and work alongside residents, local organisations and charities to reduce crime and transform a community into a safe and thriving place to live.

“In order to achieve this, it is crucial that our police service reflects the communities it seeks to serve and that we recruit outstanding graduates and career-changers to become leaders on the policing frontline. Only when the police has a workforce that is diverse, in both thought and background, can we lead real change in society and be the difference we wish to see.”

Data references

These Home Office Police Uplift stats have been taken from report published Wednesday 26th January 2022: England and Wales, quarterly update to 31 Dec 2021.

Police Now has partnered with 33 police forces across England and Wales since it was established seven years ago. Police Now has recruited over 2,000 officers across England and Wales (over half of these officers were recruited prior to the Uplift, so are not included in Uplift stats referenced above).

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