As the thin blue line gets thinner, I join a police service at a time of austerity set with cut-backs and difficult times ahead. I, like others around me have a lot to say about how the cuts are affecting policing in England and Wales as well as other public sector jobs. However, we must run with the times and look ahead to changes. We cannot just sit here and moan, we need to work with what we have and ensure we can continue to provide a service to those who need us.
I am a former Special Constable and call handler… It all started when I was 18, someone I knew was a Special Constable for another force, I vaguely found out that he was a volunteer for the police so I went on my jolly way to find out more. I had never really had much dealings with the police and knew nothing about them. That was soon to change.
I decided to apply as a Special Constable as I thought it was something different and interesting to join the police service, although I did not know what I was getting myself into. I remember at one stage when I told my family I was applying to join the police at the age of 18, they did not believe me. For a British Asian youngster, it was about being a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist… Joining the police was unheard of. It was only when the letters started dropping through the postbox and when I attended my passing out ceremony with my family that I saw how proud they were.
Little did I know this would drastically change my career and life. I wanted to develop my skills and knowledge as a Special Constable and not just be an additional resource, so I would go out of my way to learn and develop my understanding of policing even though I did not see myself wanting to join the police as a regular Police Constable. I enjoyed my time as a Special Constable due to the variety of work I could get my hands on from the fast paced response jobs including road traffic collisions, disorders, burglaries, robberies, to the more chilled out neighbourhood policing which included community engagement, working the Olympics in 2012, a visit from HM Queen, and even getting involved in a bit of Crimewatch re-enactment which was aired on BBC1 after a horrific robbery on a vulnerable, disabled war veteran.
After graduating from University and working for two different organisations, I decided to apply for the role of a call handler, I was successful and did the post for a short period of time when the recruitment process for the regulars opened up. I decided to take a shot at it and see how I got on. I knew it was going to be a tough and challenging process, but I was not expecting to excel.
So here I am, years down the line and a fully fledged Police Constable. I wanted to share my experiences and put pen to paper, or in this case, fingertips to keyboard.
“The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
– Sir Robert Peel