Croydon Town Centre – Croydon
Metropolitan Police Service
University of Portsmouth
Why did you want to join Police Now?
It’s always been an ambition of mine to join the Police. While I was at university I joined the Metropolitan Police as a Special Constable and spent a lot of time working closely with a Dedicated Ward Officer who was outstanding. This time made me realise the importance of neighbourhood policing. I saw that the Police Now programme focused on the role of being a neighbourhood officer and the rest is history.
Tell us about the programme.
As part of the programme you’re placed in one of the country’s most challenged areas as a neighbourhood officer, meaning that neighbourhood is your patch. You’re expected to identify issues and use available legislation and the soft skills that you’ve been taught during the Summer Academy to try and resolve these issues. You’re expected to present every 100 days to colleagues and representatives from partner police forces at Impact events.
The thought of presenting every 100 days can be daunting, but you’re never short of things to present and it’s here that you can share best practice.
What are your fellow officers like?
I can honestly say that they’re some of the best people I’ve met. There’s a lot of banter in the office, but at the same time they’re professional and helpful. The latest joke is my perfectly polished boots (which I take a lot of pride in) which the whole office are on a mission to scuff.
What are you looking to positively impact over the next 100 days?
Over the next 100 days I’m working on a project with my Borough Commander around the rise in knife crime and serious youth violence. We hope to try and have an impact on reducing youth violence, through mentoring, education and some revamped engagement events.
What’s the biggest positive impact you’ve made in your neighbourhood so far?
I’d say the biggest impact I’ve had is closing down one of the main anti-social behaviour hotspots in Croydon Town Centre. It was a derelict ground floor car park generating a disproportionate amount of calls to the police, crime reports and environmental pollution. I managed to work with a number of partner agencies and the leaseholder to close it down and re-home some of the homeless people living there. We haven’t been called back since.
What’s your favourite part of the job? Why?
My favourite part of the job is the people. I love walking around my neighbourhood just generally talking to people – there are so many lovely, pro-police people that stop and thank you for the job you’re doing. People are also the best sources of information – members of the public always give me good up to date intelligence about my neighbourhood, which helps me to build a bigger picture of the area.
Tell us a bit about the training.
The training can be broken down into classroom based learning and field training. In the classroom you learn the key legislation, and on field training you put this all to practice in a busy area and work towards achieving independent patrol status.
The teaching style is unique and intense. It was one of the toughest experiences I’ve ever had, but the life skills I’ve gained will stick with me outside of the policing context.
What skills have you gained?
In addition to the practical skills developed during the programme, I’ve gained key skills around emotional intelligence and empathy. In policing you deal with a lot of people that aren’t having the greatest of times, whether it’s because they’ve been a victim of crime, just been arrested, need first aid or are suffering a mental health episode; you have to tailor your communication based on the situation.
What will you be doing after the two year programme?
I’ll definitely be staying in policing in the immediate future. I’d consider going into firearms, as I am fascinated with how in depth and thorough their training is, particularly around use of force and tactics. I also fancy the physical challenge of it. On the flip side I like the thought of being a schools officer, being able to influence and inspire young people would be great.
If someone was thinking about joining, what would you say to them?
I’d offer five key pieces of advice:
- – While it can be tough, it’s immensely rewarding and there are times that you’ll think ‘I can’t believe I’m being paid to do this, what a dream job’.
- – Don’t come in thinking you’re going to instantly change the organisation or area, focus on learning the job in the beginning and everything will come naturally after.
- – Volunteer for everything, it will get you exposure and put you in good standing with your colleagues.
- – Always ask for feedback – it’s a gift. Also, people won’t always automatically give it to you, so make sure you ask.
- – Write everything down, you’ll never get criticised for writing too much!