On my application to join the police, I said I wanted to serve people. In 15 years that hasn’t changed.
The most important part of my job is protecting people. Whoever they are, whatever they do, it’s our job to protect them.
I knew I didn’t want to go to university or sit behind a desk. I wanted to work with people, particularly vulnerable people.
Obviously it can be a very challenging role, but we do what it takes to get the job done.
The job that featured on ’24 Hours in Police Custody’ was typical of this.
As a Detective Sergeant, you are there to make supervisory decisions rather than always getting directly hands on with a case. But on that day I didn’t have many staff on duty and I’d never leave a member of my team to cope on their own.
The job initially came in as robbery which was linked later on to a disorder in Houghton Regis and a subsequent assault.
We took statements from the witnesses, victims, and the accused, and had to try and piece it altogether.
Dylan McEwan was arrested and interviewed. In the interview he told us that he wasn’t guilty of robbery at all. It soon became clear that the timings he was telling us weren’t adding up.
At that point the solicitor asked for a break so I went to look up to the log for the job, which confirmed the timings weren’t as McEwan was claiming. We went back in and challenged him.
It was a long shift. We both put in extra hours to get the job done, and DC Layton did an excellent job.
We only have a certain amount of time in which to get the evidence together for the Crown Prosecution Service, so it’s not unusual for us to have to work late.
I don’t arrange to see my family and friends on a work day, as I don’t want to have to let them down.
Eventually after a lot of good work from several officers – I’m lucky to supervise some excellent detective constables – we were able to present the case to CPS who subsequently charged McEwan.
When you get a charge on a job it’s always satisfying, especially when you’ve put a lot of time into it.
There are a lot of challenges that come with policing.
With this specific job, we knew it was going to be tough to get the community to talk to us as a lot of both the offenders and witnesses mixed in the same social circles.
Some of those involved also had a lack of trust in the police, which can be a common issue when you have victims or witnesses who have been on the wrong side of the law themselves.
Robberies can be challenging because of the sheer complexities involved and the threat of violence which can be terrifying for the victims, we have a 24 hours’ time limit when an offender is brought to custody and during this time we need to build an evidential case, present the evidence to the CPS for a charging decision.
Since ’24 Hours in Custody’ was filmed, I’ve been promoted, and I’m now the Detective Inspector for Safeguarding; dealing with the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
It’s a completely different world to CID. Multi-agency Partnership working is vital, and it’s more about working together and agreeing long term solutions to ensure those most vulnerable are protected. Listening to the voice of the child is integral to gaining trust.
But whether it’s crime, safeguarding, or any other department, what’s most important to all of us is getting the right result for the victim.