PCSO Joel Driscoll joined the force six years ago and has been part of the Central Bedfordshire priority anti-social behaviour team for two-and-a-half years. He has two children – a daughter aged six and a three-year-old son. On Father’s Day, he tells us what it’s like juggling fatherhood with the demands of the job.
Just the other day I was dropping my son off at school when an ambulance drove past. He turned to me and said, ‘Are they your friends, Daddy?’
They are both very proud that I work for the police. They look up to me and say they want to be in the police one day, but it is hard to explain to them exactly what I do.
One day I can be doing my regular patrols and responding to calls that come in, while other days I can be sat in meetings about combating anti-social behaviour, safeguarding victims and dealing with offenders.
For me, it is nice that my shift patterns allow me to spend time with my children during the school holidays and occasionally at weekends.
I make sure when I spend time with them we plan things to do and make the most of the time together.
Having children has definitely changed my mindset in the role. You see things in a completely different light and anything involving young children hits home that bit harder.
Not long ago I was preparing to attend appointments with residents to discuss some of their concerns, when a call came in about a road traffic collision involving a car and a motorcycle.
I was the first to arrive at the scene, except for the ambulance. I have never been so relieved to see the flashing blue lights.
The paramedics did their jobs but, unfortunately, the motorcyclist didn’t make it. Traffic officers arrived to help on the scene and begin their investigations.
My role was to sit with the family of four – a mum, a dad and two young girls – who had been travelling in the car involved. They were in a lot of shock after what had just happened.
The children were of similar ages to my own, so I tried to keep them calm. They were given some teddies to play with, which luckily were in one of the traffic officers’ cars following some school engagement work.
We were not far from Whipsnade Zoo. I thought of my own children and chatted to the girls about all the animals, and impressed them with my knowledge of kids’ TV.
Eventually I was the one that took them home. There was lots of investigation work to be done, but that wasn’t my role at the time. I was simply there to help.
I deal with jobs where it’s clear that individuals and families will never be the same again, then have to leave these people and continue with my day like every other police officer and PCSO.
It is sometimes a strange feeling but it fills me with pride that I can help others. I take that home with me and feel lucky to have my family around me, safe and well and supportive of what I do.
This Father’s Day I have booked time off to be with my children and my own dad, and take them out for a meal.