Join the police: Police Now officer in Thames Valley tackles drug dealing and youth crime
Monday 31 January 2022
PC Grant talks about why he joined the police, how he arrested two drug dealers, and his ambitions to upskill officers to handle youth involvement in criminality and gangs.
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 Thames Valley 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 Andrew Grant joined Thames Valley Police via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2019.
He said: “After completing a degree in Business Management and a master’s in Sustainable Development, and then working in accountancy for two years, I realised that office work wasn’t for me. I had always been interested in policing but didn’t apply until I came across Police Now. As a structured graduate entry scheme, it seemed like a natural way to transition from my degree and office work into a frontline policing role.
“Since joining the force, I have done a lot of work to reduce anti-social behaviour, knife crime and drug dealing. For example, I recently responded to reports about drug-dealing at an address in Slough.
“Residents in the block of flats had reported instances of drug dealing and increased anti-social behaviour at the property. I worked with the residents, landlord and council to gather intelligence and issue a search warrant at the flat and we were able to make two arrests.
“But it’s not always about making arrests, a lot of the work of a neighbourhood officer can be about community engagement and preventing criminality in the first place. For example, I recently attended an event run by the Transform Society, which brings together the social transformation programmes Teach First, Unlocked, Frontline and Police Now, to tackle problems of social inequality.
“Through this event I met a social worker in London, who specialises in therapy for young people and their families who become involved in gang crime. We have been working together to develop a training programme which will upskill police officers in dealing with complex cases of youth involvement in criminality and gangs. This will focus on early intervention and understanding the root causes of their behaviour. The project is still in its early days, but we are hoping to launch a pilot scheme and begin to make these positive changes for young people and families in the community.
“I think what makes Police Now unique is partly this focus on problem-solving and prevention, as well as the opportunities it provides for you to network with other officers and partners. I also undertook a secondment with Edge NE, an organisation that specialises in mentoring for young people and combating serious youth violence and child criminal exploitation including county lines. This secondment tied in well with some of the work I was doing within my team around knife crime, drug supply and youth offenders.
“At the end of the day, neighbourhood policing is a career that allows you to really get to know your community and the people and organisations within it. You build up a broad skill and knowledge base from which to launch a career in policing, and you can truly make a difference to people’s lives.”
Police Now has partnered with Thames Valley Police for six years and has recruited a total of 45 police constables and 11 detective constables to the force to date via the Police Now programmes, with a further cohort of detectives preparing to start their academy training in March.
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, Police Now’s Recruitment and Marketing Director, 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.”
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).