Last January I was on foot patrol in Bedford town centre working as a Special Constable, when I received a call on my mobile phone from an unknown number. I normally don’t respond to such calls as generally these are PPI or similar, but I am glad I did this time, as that call changed my life.
“This is Bedfordshire Police calling to let you know that you are going to be part of the next intake of officers, starting on the 23 February. Congratulations!”
That phone call was the culmination of the path I started to walk almost two years before when the idea of joining the police started to appeal me.
At the beginning of 2013 I was living in London and I was at the top of my IT career, working as a Chief Technology Officer.
During my staying in the City I had an issue with my landlady which I wasn’t able to personally resolve, so for the first time ever I contacted the police to see if they could advise me on the best course of action to take.
Although not requiring any police action, the experience with them was quite outstanding: the level of care and attention to the problem I presented really impressed and resonated with me.
When I learned that I could join the police service at a more mature age and that actually my life experience, my exposure to diversity, and ability to speak in several languages would be positively considered and put to good use, I started to explore the idea of changing career and wearing the blue uniform.
However the decision to jump ship was anything but easy. I had a lot of doubts and questions and I was about to put the idea to rest when I discovered I could apply to become a Special Constable and test the waters beforehand.
The Special Constabulary is a peculiarity of the British police: although police services in other countries may have volunteers or reservists, no-one else gives the very same powers of a regular police officer to volunteers.
I knew already that I didn’t want to stay in London and even though I loved every minute of it, the City was not the kind of place I could imagine myself living in for a long period of time.
By pure coincidence I met a police officer working for Bedfordshire Police who highlighted, with incredible passion, his profession and the advantages of working for a small force; so I took the leap and applied to Bedfordshire Police.
From the moment I rang the force, I knew I’d made the right decision, and I was instantly struck by their friendly manner.
The last year spent as a Special Constable has been hugely rewarding and convinced me that being a police officer is the right choice for me for my next career.
Over the next few weeks I will blog about the selection process for becoming a police officer, what the training was like, and my experiences during my tutorship and probation period, right up until I become a fully-fledged Bedfordshire Police Officer.