Police Now academy: Sasskia Roberts, Essex Police
National Graduate Leadership Programme 2022
Sasskia Roberts launched her career as a neighbourhood police officer on Monday 12th September, when she was attested at Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme academy.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Birmingham, Sasskia was selected out of thousands of applicants and joins Essex Police via the programme, where she is determined to build on her existing leadership skills to become a role model in society.
Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme begins with a seven-week training academy, before participants are deployed into their respective police forces across the country for the remainder of the two-year programme.
They will work as neighbourhood police officers and, alongside experienced colleagues, work to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, tackle complex issues within their communities, and improve public confidence in the police service. Participants also work towards their Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University.
Read more about Sasskia’s academy experience below.
“I have always had an interest in the police, and I studied Criminology and Psychology at Birmingham City University, but not many people knew that I wanted to become a police officer. So when I secured my place on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme my family were quite surprised. They had some worries at first, mostly about whether I would get hurt on the job, but they’ve since been reassured and are now excited to see me launch my policing journey as a neighbourhood police officer.
“I am joining Essex Police, which will be quite a change as I grew up in Birmingham. I was born in Jamaica but I moved to Birmingham when I was very young. I am nervous but excited about the move to Essex, I think it will be a great opportunity to get to know a whole new area and community and start this new chapter of my life.
“Before securing a place on Police Now’s programme, I worked in retail for three years and then I moved into a care position at a care home for young children. Shortly after that, I spent some time working in a school for children with learning difficulties and children with autism who need extra support. I really enjoyed using and developing techniques to support people in that role and it’s partly this which attracts me to a career in neighbourhood policing; I know I will be able to work on long-term plans to support entire communities as well as individuals. By chance, the headteacher at the school was a former police officer and she gave me some advice for the role and encouraged me to go for it!
“I followed her advice, and now here I am – one week into my official training with Police Now. It’s been a lot to take in, but I’ve had support from my Syndicate Lead (academy trainer) and the other officers in my group. I have enjoyed learning new skills this week, like how to caution someone correctly and how to lawfully make arrests and handle evidence. I personally enjoy the practical sessions, where we role play and put theory into practice.
“I am also enjoying developing my leadership skills, which I know will be a big focus of the rest of academy; it’s such a key part of being a frontline officer. Shortly after graduating university, I undertook a three day ‘Common Purpose Future Leaders’ course, which challenged us to think about different leadership skills and qualities and how to apply them. I really enjoyed that, so I’m excited to be applying and developing these skills further at academy. I am particularly looking forward to upcoming field training shifts when I will be interacting with the public for the first time as a police constable. I know it’s going to be challenging, but anything worth doing is.”
“We have just spent two weeks undertaking our Officer Safety Training and Emergency Life Support training. This aspect of the training has been very practical, which I have enjoyed.
“I feel I have learnt a lot over the last two weeks, including the main handcuffing techniques and invaluable first aid and self-defence skills. These are skills which might help me save someone’s life one day, so I knew just how important it was to really apply myself. We focussed on developing our listening and communication skills, to create safe environments and resolve or de-escalate situations without the use of force.
“We travelled from Police Now’s site to our respective police forces for this part of the academy, so I was based with Essex Police. This was my first experience staying in Essex, which put things into perspective and gave me an insight into the communities I will be working with. It’s a brand-new county for me, which is exciting but also a bit overwhelming. However, speaking to the other officers joining the force really helped and we’ve all said we’ll keep in touch even after the seven-week Police Now academy ends. I also wore my uniform for my family for the first time, which made us all feel very proud and excited for the journey ahead.
“I am now doing a lot of revision and practice for my upcoming assessment as we move into the next phase of the academy. We have number of topics to cover this week including investigative interview practice and how to effectively police and engage with diverse communities. There’s still a lot to cover, but I can’t believe how much I’ve already achieved.”
“I have just completed my first few shifts on the policing frontline, where I made my first arrest since being attested as a police constable. It’s been a challenging and exhausting experience, but it’s also been amazing to apply my Police Now academy training to real operational policing situations.
“For my field training, I spent three days on Essex Police’s Response unit in Chelmsford. We responded to 999 calls, conducted several vehicle checks, and I learnt how to use the police database system to file incident reports. I enjoyed interacting with members of the public for the first time in my police uniform and meeting my colleagues in Essex Police, including several other officers who previously joined through Police Now’s programme.
“My colleagues made me feel very welcome and were all really helpful, making sure I understood the different calls we were responding to and going over police powers and the different legislation that might apply before we arrived on the scene. They were all very proud of me when I made my first arrest, which was for a suspected theft at a department store. The suspect fled the scene but we were able to catch up with them.
“The pressure was high as we were in quite a busy public place when making the arrest, but I was able to ensure that the arrest was dignified and that I delivered all the necessary information and cautions effectively. I then assisted my colleagues in presenting the suspect to custody and writing an arrest statement and, the following day, I assisted in securing charges against a suspect in the case.
“Having been in force and worked alongside my Essex Police colleagues, I already feel so much more confident in my policing knowledge and skills – though I know there’s still a very long way to go. Being on the frontline has really reinforced the immense responsibility of the role and the real impact I can make as a police officer, as I support people through some of the hardest times in their lives. It’s going to be very hard work, but I can see just how rewarding it’s going to be, too.”
“The last seven-weeks at Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme academy have been some of the most challenging of my life, but I have already gained so much and feel a lot more confident than I did at the start.
“My family and friends back home have been a constant source of support, reminding me how hard I have worked to get here and about the exciting journey ahead. Now that I am officially landing in Essex Police after completing the academy, I am excited to start putting my training into practice on the policing frontline.
“I am glad to have been on this journey with other like-minded people at Police Now’s academy, both the ones joining Essex Police and my colleagues joining other forces across the country. It’s time to start supporting members of the public and driving real, positive change in our communities.”