Why did you want to join Police Now?
I didn’t like the idea of a desk job and wanted a challenging job with variety. I also liked the opportunity to make a difference that the programme offers by being based in the most deprived areas of the community.
What did your parents / friends think about you joining?
They were surprised, I think they had expected that I would go into a career more closely linked to my degree subject, but they were supportive.
What do they think now?
They like hearing all the stories! They’re still very supportive
Tell us about the programme.
The programme is challenging, not only do you have to get to grips with a difficult job but you’re also going into a specialised role as a neighbourhood police officer. Alongside this, you have to account for and be assessed on how you’ve had an impact in your community every 100 days – this includes doing two presentations in front of your peers. However, it is a very rewarding programme and you get additional training opportunities throughout as well as external and internal internship opportunities.
Tell us a bit about the training.
The training is intense, we had to do e-learning before the start of training and then six weeks training in London with tests most week – including one on the first day of training. The training in London also included some shifts with response teams where we had to get certain skills signed off e.g. making an arrest. We then had time with Lancashire specific training at Hutton and then four weeks supervised by a mentor on our wards.
What are your fellow officers like?
Amazing, my team were really welcoming when I arrived and my mentor showed me around my neighbourhood and introduced me to key partner agencies. They’re always willing to help and have put up with all my questions – I wouldn’t be able to do it without them!
What benefits do you get?
As part of the programme you get extra training days throughout your probation and have the opportunity to do a four-week external or internal internship in your second year.
What are you looking to positively impact over the next 100 days?
I’m hoping to swear out and execute some warrants to disrupt drug dealing in my area, as well as working with partner agencies to help vulnerable families.
What’s the biggest positive impact you’ve made in neighbourhood so far?
Working with the council and housing to conduct selective licensing visits shortly after I moved wards. This was a great way of introducing myself to residents and meant people who might otherwise have been reluctant to seek the help of the police could report crime or other issues. This meant I became aware of the ongoing issues in the neighbourhood that I otherwise may not have known about and could act upon these to have a positive impact. It also meant I became aware of several vulnerable families or households in the neighbourhood and the council and housing were able to offer support directly as well as helping other residents with any welfare issues.
What’s it like working with all the different people within your community?
It can be challenging at times as not everyone in the community is happy to engage with the police. However it is very rewarding when working with vulnerable or deprived members of the community who are most in need of support.
Were you nervous when you first started? How do you feel now?
Yes! I moved away from my family and friends to join so it was a lot of change in one go! Being a police officer also comes with a lot of responsibility. I was worried that I wouldn’t know what to do when people came up to me in the street with a problem or that I would make a mistake that could have an impact on someone’s welfare or safety. However, there’s always a team mate or sergeant who you can ask for advice when you’re unsure about something. I’ve learnt a lot since starting and feel more confident now but I still learn something new each day.
How have you coped with such a huge responsibility?
Thanks to supportive teammates, family and friends. My teammates and sergeants are really helpful and I still keep in touch with other police Now officers who are all in the same position. I also live with another police Now officer, which has really helped.
What’s the best thing you’ve done?
I organised the Blackpool town centre Christmas operation with another police Now officer to reduce crime and ASB over the Christmas period. The operation ran throughout December and involved combatting a rise in theft, ASB, begging and alcohol related crime within the town centre to increase public confidence.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve done?
The first time I had to inform someone that their relative had died.
What’s your favourite part of the job? Why?
My favourite part of the job is the variety, anything can happen and every shift is different so you’re always on the go and constantly learning new things.
What have you learnt about yourself?
That I don’t give up easily – there’s been lots of difficult moments in the job and challenging aspects to the scheme.
What skills have you gained?
Anything can happen on a shift, so I have learnt to adapt to different situations and stay calm under pressure. My public speaking skills have also improved – I dreaded public speaking when I started the programme, but since joining I’ve attended workshops and had to speak in front of large audiences.
If someone was thinking about joining, what would you say to them?
Go for it, not many careers offer the level of variety that policing does whilst also giving you the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives. It’s a challenging job, but it’s definitely worth it.