I joined the job 25 years ago. I remember every week being told how young the police are now a days! I was young. I got in at 21, when the average age or my recruitment was 35 years old! Devon and Cornwall liked someone who had been there, seen it, done it. Wise. I have loved this Force, and with ending up in armed response for the past 18 years, have witnessed some incredible leadership. I am proud of my Force.
I had to lie a little when I was so young however, when attending a domestic, “What do you know about it?” Some guy would shout at my pale spotty face. “Well I’m going through a divorce at the moment, so I know it’s not easy with a child as well”. Naughty? A little maybe, but it got me through.
I ended up getting rid of my spots with the power of chemicals and ended up marrying a 19 year old Miss Torbay! She’ll kill me for that! So here we are, and she’s been through thick and thin with me. Tears and some despair, concern and grief, she’s been there. I’ve seen many relationships split, and having to put up with a partner who is on shifts for 25 years is definitely not great I imagine, but we’ve made it to now.
I remember working with this old copper called ‘Jobbies’. A face that had so many creases in it, you couldn’t have ironed them out, and I remember seeing how incredibly keen he was. Smiles and laughs, and a joy to work with. Such great times with him, who genuinely wanted to help at domestic disputes for example, wanted to help people, and I thought, I want to be like him. I want to be like Jobbies PC 442, of Torquay nick, when I’m his age… and I think I am to be honest, I think I have made it.
It helps to be incredibly optimistic, and maybe ever so slightly mad, but I have to hide the things I have seen behind a mask, it helps. Those scenes of a woman and her children waiting hand in hand at a scene of a bike accident, wanting to see their husband and father they thought was just injured, his face like ‘the Mask’. Just horror. But I turned those scenes into a couple of tears, natural therapy in the privacy of my own car, and to wanting to help just a little in to trying to prevent it just a little bit. And that, as Jobbies would say, is the pleasure of the job, and the part that few other occupations have the pleasure of doing. I should be grateful for that.
So modern policing, I have to be careful here, as I cannot talk about politics, I don’t want to blurt on with negativity, because there are many of those that are happy to do that for me, but what I do want to pass on to the new generation, is that as long as you are busy as an officer, and you are doing what you can, then you are doing your bit. Nothing stays the same, you have the perfect section, and it changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the not so good, but you adapt to it, and you work with it. They got rid of the bars in the police stations, they got rid of the canteens and therefore the social life within, they ripped the heart out of the station some said, when they did that, but that is that, we have to work with what we have left.
We cut paperwork by streamlining something and within a year it has tripled with no consultation with the grass routes who have to do that work, the police are cut, and cut and cut but the work multiplies and multiplies. I’m on shaky ground here, too many departments with their own agenda, and unfortunately sometimes the whole point has been lost. The public, the good guys and the vulnerable people who need us. We must put that in the forefront of our minds, and if the change doesn’t fit that, then we need to ask why.
I love going to work every day, and every night, I’ve never sat in the comfortable seat, and therefore I fall at some hurdles, and in 4 years when I am due to leave, I will go, knowing that what ever happens, I have worked with some wonderful people, that even though the Police Force has changed beyond all recognition and I have worked in the best Force in the country without a doubt, it will be time to go and pass the mantle to others. Just stay positive I say, do that for the good people you are working for, the ones who need you, and if they appreciate you, then all the better.