Neighbourhood Policing Week: Police Now in Essex
Wednesday 25 January 2023
This week is Neighbourhood Policing Week of Action, which celebrates community policing and the achievements of neighbourhood officers across the UK.
To mark the week, we spoke to Police Constable Amelia Thorne, an officer currently on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in Essex Police.
She shares details about her work on Operation Union, helping build public confidence in policing on Southend-on-Sea’s beachfront and her reasons for joining the service. Hear more from her below:
Why did you decide to train as a neighbourhood police officer on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme?
“It was whilst studying at university that I first decided I wanted to become a neighbourhood police officer. What appealed to me most was the opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives and be out there on the streets, supporting the most vulnerable in society. I also really enjoy being up on my feet, engaging and meeting new people, and was keen to use and develop my leadership skills.
“I finished my undergraduate degree from Loughborough University in 2020 and applied straight away to Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, knowing it was the right route into policing for me. The programme’s focus on neighbourhood policing enabled me to get stuck in as a neighbourhood officer right away and I was lucky enough to be placed in my hometown of Southend-on-Sea. I really love working here and it’s amazing to be able to support this local community – one that I’ve been a part of since I was a child.”
Can you tell us about Operation Union?
“Operation Union is part of Essex Police’s collective effort to ensure the city is kept safe and the public are protected during the increased footfall we experience at Southend-on-Sea during the summer months.
“The Neighbourhood Policing Team increased the number of foot patrols and provided a strong visible presence by the seafront to reassure holidaymakers and deter crime such as pick-pocketing or public disorder.
“We worked with community partners including Southend-on-Sea City Council, British Transport Police and seafront security teams to deliver the operation, which saw some fantastic results. Between April and October last year (2022), officers conducted nearly 7,500 hours of patrols in targeted areas and made 106 arrests, mostly for possession of drugs, assault and public disorder. Of the 294 stop and searches that were conducted, more than a third led to the discovery of illegal items such as drugs, weapons, and stolen goods.
“Operation Union was particularly significant for me as I was given the opportunity to be a ‘ground supervisor’ by my sergeant. I was the main point of contact for the operation in my area and led a number of team briefings. I also spent time monitoring CCTV footage and our crime incident database, and I liaised with local contacts to gather information and deploy units or officers where they were most needed.
“Police Now’s leadership training helped prepare me for the role, and with a strong support network around me, I was able to quickly find my feet and really enjoy taking on the responsibility.”
What has been your highlight of the job so far?
“For me, the best moments of the job are the small positive interactions you have with members of the public. During Operation Union, it was great to chat to members of the public, particularly families with children, to hear their concerns and show them that we’re here to help and keep them safe. Proactive policing like this is vital for increasing public confidence in the police service, solving crime, and gathering intelligence. I hope our work inspires the next generation to join the police in the future.”
Do you have any advice for someone considering a career in policing?
“I would definitely recommend a career in neighbourhood policing as there is a great balance between getting out into the community and responding to emergency jobs, and having time to problem solve and help those most in need. The role of neighbourhood policing is extremely rewarding all round. If you are considering a career in this role, I would advise you to give everything you have to it, be confident and most importantly just be yourself. All you need to do is be that friendly face and listening ear for the public you serve, have a strong passion to help others and to uphold the laws that keep our communities safe.”
Applications for Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme are currently open for talented graduates who want to positively transform communities and become leaders in policing and in society.
For more information on the stats referenced above, please see Police Now’s latest Impact Report here.