PC Heather Hutchinson thinks she’s got the best job in the world. She spent four years working in the force control room before becoming a response officer in 2008.
I love my job. Absolutely love it.
I’ve done so many different jobs in my time, I’ve travelled the world and experienced all types of working environments, nothing compares to the challenges you face every day as a police officer.
You never know what you may be turning up to and that is what drives me on a day-to-day basis.
During your career you can specialise in so many different areas, I can’t imagine ever being bored while working for the police.
You constantly have to think on your feet, working out how to solve the many problems you’re faced with, and it sounds a cliché, but you really never know what to expect.
You can be that empathetic ear to people, the person that tells a domestic violence victim that they’re not being silly if they still love the person they have spent their life with.
When someone is suffering on a daily basis – having their life made a living hell – it’s nice to know you can make a difference.
For that reason I find it really rewarding responding to domestic violence and harassment incidents.
If I can get victims to open up to me, and get the best out of them onto paper in order for their statement to be as impactful as possible in court, then I know I’ve done a good job.
A lot of our time as response officers is spent dealing with people who are experiencing mental health issues.
I attended an incident the other day where a man was suffering from severe anxiety.
He wasn’t committing any crime, but he had been making threats to harm himself. He didn’t want to come with me as he was agoraphobic so didn’t want to leave his house, but I couldn’t have left him at home alone as we have a duty of care to ensure he doesn’t come to any harm.
After a bit of problem solving, I managed to arrange for someone from the local crisis team to come and give him the support he needed, and get the wheels in motion for long term help.
That day I went home feeling like I’d achieved something and really made a difference to someone’s life.
On Monday our new operating model launched, which I think will have a really positive impact on the way in which response policing works.
The new model will see us become more of an all-round officer. Before we were just responding to incidents and handing them over to others to deal with. Now we are able to see jobs through from start to finish which should enhance victim satisfaction.
We’ll be getting to improve our interview techniques too – a vital skill in policing – as we’ll be doing them more often now.
I occasionally work in our force control room and I think the new model with really help with how things are run in there – we’ll be able to give a more efficient service.
The biggest challenge facing our force at the moment is the lack of resources, but I’m positive the new way of working will help improve that.
Despite the challenges that come with being a response officer, I feel very privileged to do this job.
I wouldn’t change it for the world.