The smallest actions have a huge impact: PC Emilie Waite’s graduation speech
Friday 27th October 2023
The seventh cohort of officers have recently graduated from Police Now’s two-year National Graduate Leadership Programme, serving in 14 forces across England and Wales.
A graduation ceremony was held last month to celebrate the officers’ achievements with family and friends.
Addressing her fellow graduating officers, Police Constable Emilie Waite of the Metropolitan Police Service reflected on her highlights serving as a neighbourhood police officer over the last two years and how the Police Now programme has shaped her career.
Police Constable Emilie Waite:
“About two years ago, we all made the choice to join Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. Many of us had likely just finished university and, for me, I really had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. Working in a COVID test centre, I realised that I enjoyed working with people and helping people so, when I started looking for a career shortly after, I knew I wanted to work with the public.
“At the time, there was a lot of news coverage about the police internationally and locally, and the Metropolitan Police Service in particular were being heavily scrutinised by the public. While this was a career to avoid for some, I liked the idea of making a positive change and having an impact on what policing would look like in the future.
“Police Now’s neighbourhood policing programme matched these principles and I really liked that the programme has a heavy focus on problem-solving, working with others and being in the community.
“Evidently, we all made a similar decision and were successful in making it onto the programme and shortly after, we had started at Police Now’s training academy. My favourite part about academy was meeting people from all over the country, some of whom I would go on to work with and who would become some of my closest friends. It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come from ironing shirts and practising handcuffing techniques at the academy together, to now leading operations to tackle violence against women in our neighbourhoods.
“Having policed my neighbourhood for two years now, I know the importance of building relationships with our communities, but I have also seen how even our smallest actions can have big impacts in our neighbourhoods.
“One of my favourite moments policing my community was when I attended a call for an elderly woman who had her handbag stolen at a café. There wasn’t much of monetary value in the bag, but she had lost pictures of her family and a letter from her late husband. I trawled through hours of CCTV footage and eventually found a clip of a man taking the handbag and throwing it in the bin after deciding there was nothing of interest in it. So, I strapped on some blue gloves, got in the bin, and found the bag and returned it to the woman. I will never forget her reaction and how thankful she was. It’s moments like these when I am so proud to be a neighbourhood officer.
“Other highlights include working throughout the Queen’s jubilee, being on the news with Sadiq Khan and guarding the Stone of Destiny in Westminster Abbey during the coronation of King Charles III.
“I also had the opportunity to spend a month working with Counter Terrorism Policing, gaining an insight into their investigations, intelligence gathering and prevention work. I was able to network with people who had years of experience in policing and gave me great career advice. This really shows the benefit of the Police Now programme as I wouldn’t have been able to organise this internal attachment or network with so many people otherwise.
“Many of us will likely stay on in our neighbourhood teams and continue to make an impact in our communities, while some will go on to do specialist roles, or become future leaders, and it’s Police Now that has given us the tools to do that.
“For me, what I’ll take forward is: to be ambitious, challenge the status quo and inspire the people we work with. Despite the last two years going so fast, we have all come incredibly far and have done so much, and I’m sure we will all go so much further.’’