Police Now officers tackling crime and supporting communities in Devon & Cornwall
Thursday 1 July 2021
More than 1,000 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents in areas with Police Now officers
Substantial decrease in shoplifting, burglary and theft from a person
Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing
Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Devon & Cornwall.
Communities where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months across the force area have seen 1,128 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 13 per cent drop.
Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.
As well as the drop in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 764 fewer incidents of shoplifting – a fall of more than a quarter (28 per cent). There were 172 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of 23 per cent – and 109 fewer incidents of theft from the person, equivalent to a fall of more than a third (34 per cent).
DC Lara Tyrrell-Moore of Devon & Cornwall Police, who is based in Newton Abbot and Totnes in South Devon, left her role as a teacher to pursue a career in policing. From keeping vulnerable people safe to engaging with young people who were venting their frustrations about the pandemic, she has very much enjoyed the variety of work so far and has found she has lots of transferrable skills. She said: “With teaching it’s all about communication, and that’s really applicable to policing. I think my background in teaching has really helped me become a good police officer. It’s meant I’m happy to communicate and build relationships with people very quickly.”
DC Tyrell-Moore joined Devon & Cornwall Police via Police Now’s National Detectives Programme in January 2021 where a core element of the programme includes a rotation on response within local communities. Speaking about her experiences so far, she said: “I am really enjoying the problem solving aspect of the job; you get very little information, and very little time, and you turn up to a situation and have to use your communication skills. You have to work out what’s happened already, what needs to happen next and what police involvement is appropriate. Recently, my colleagues and I were with an elderly vulnerable couple for five hours and had to get an ambulance involved, I spent over an hour and a half on the phone to every possible support service. At the end of the day, those two 80-year-old adults were safeguarded and all the relevant services were looped in, so I felt it was a very satisfying job – I really like helping people!”
DC Tyrrell-Moore had to get used to the pace and uncertainty of policing – and is now thriving in her role. She said: “I initially found the pace and expectation tough but in hindsight, having gone through it, it was really useful. I had to get used to not knowing what I was doing beyond a couple of weeks in advance. The academy set me up really well for the real life of policing, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.
Officers on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.
Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Devon & Cornwall Police. Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer has invested in his communities by partnering with Police Now for the past three years, with seven police constables and 11 detective constables joining the force via this route.
Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Police Now recruitment data shows that, nationally, nearly one in five (17 per cent) of those joining Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2020 identified as coming from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background and more than half (54 per cent) identified as women.
Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector
Q&A with Detective Constable Lara Tyrell-Moore
National Detective Programme Participant
Devon & Cornwall
What were your main motivations on applying to policing through Police Now?
I have a background in teaching, I joined teaching through Teach First which is a very similar programme to Police Now. Police Now attracted me for similar reasons to Teach First, I really aligned to the mission and the values and I really like Police Now’s approach to policing, so I thought I’d go for it! I liked the bottom-up approach of taking the right people and putting them in the right places in order to have an impact in communities, it felt kind of grass roots and quite authentic
What do you enjoy most about working in the police?
That’s a difficult one! I’m still in the response phase, so still in uniform. I’m actually enjoying it more than I thought I would and I am really enjoying the problem solving aspect of the job; you get very little information, and very little time, and you turn up to a situation and have to use your communication skills with sometimes quite difficult people or people who are challenging to communicate with, or even just people who are having the most horrendous day. You have to work out what’s happened already and what needs to happen next, and what police involvement is appropriate (sometimes the police aren’t always the ones who need to take the situation forwards). For example, yesterday we were with an elderly vulnerable couple for 5 hours and we had to get an ambulance involved, I spent over an hour and a half on the phone to every possible support service you could imagine. But at the end of the day those two 80-year-old adults were safeguarded and all the relevant services were looped in, so I felt it was a very satisfying job. It sounds lame but I just really like helping people!
How did you find the transition from teaching to policing?
I feel that it has two main advantages. Firstly, I feel that I’ve got a bit of life experience which has really helped me (I’m 31, so was a bit older than the rest of the cohort in D&C), and it seems that I’ve ‘lived life’ a bit. Secondly, with teaching it’s all about communication, explaining things clearly, helping students understand – and that’s really applicable to policing. In policing, you’re always talking to people, establishing what they do and don’t know, explaining the situation and what you can do to help them, and then you’re doing it. So, I think my background in teaching has really helped me become a good police officer. It means I’m happy to communicate and build relationships with people very quickly.
Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?
People react better to people that they have things in common with. So if you come from the area you serve and you can tell people that, sometimes it helps.
In a broader sense it helps you have an awareness of problem spots; if you’ve grown up in an area and you know which spots you tend to avoid then this helps you know which areas you might want to focus on once you join the police, for example. Or if you know the complaints of the people in the local area then you may be better equipped to address them, as you may have gone through that that situation yourself or had similar complaints – especially when it comes to ASB.
For me, working as a teacher in Plymouth and then policing in South Devon, there were quite similar kids that I deal with. So, engaging with children and talking to them is something I find comes quite naturally to me. And I get where they’re from. I was teaching when the pandemic started, so I know that a few of the teenagers we’ve had recent run-ins with are frustrated, they’ve had a horrible 2 years. But I was part of that as a teacher, so I can relate and empathise with them in a way that perhaps others can’t.
What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?
I initially found the pace and expectation tough but in hindsight, having gone through it, it was really useful. I had to get used to not knowing what I was doing beyond a couple of weeks in advance (for example) but overall, the academy set me up really well for the real life of policing, because you never know what’s going to happen. I’ve become a lot more comfortable with a changing future picture – you know, I don’t know what I’m going to be going in 3 weeks’ time, where I’m going, or who I’m reporting to yet, but that doesn’t bother me in the same way it used to. And in terms of the academy and the way they drip feed you everything, I found that very valuable.
Also, my syndicate lead was phenomenal, as was her professionalism throughout. Her professionalism feeds into her interactions with the public so I think she’s really influenced me and I’ve really taken that on board. When I’m dealing with members of the public, I’m very aware that if we’re in a public space then there are certain expectations of officers to act in a certain way, regardless of how you feel about a certain situation. It’s only when you get back and can talk to colleagues that you can unload, and that’s entirely fine.
Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.
The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.