I grew up in Zimbabwe and I always wanted to be a police officer in America because of the films I watched when I was younger. But then when I came to the UK in September 2000, I quickly changed my mind as I came to realise that the police in the UK were the best in the world.
I applied to Bedfordshire Police, and my application was accepted. I joined as a Police Constable and started my training in January 2003. I had been out of school for some time by that point but I really enjoyed it; the course covered law and we learned about general policing duties.
Once I’d finished my training, I was posted to Luton in the Retail Crime department. My attachment there was for ten weeks and I spent my time out and about on the beat, learning about practical policing and dealing with incidents including robbery, burglary and vehicle-related crime. I had three mentors during my time in the team and it was really valuable to have their support; they were excellent police officers who have now all gone on to become Inspectors and Sergeants.
The force still has a mentorship programme, which is constantly developing and evolving. We have a small group of mentors who are on hand to support applicants through the application process.
After my ten weeks in the Retail Crime department had finished, I moved to C Section Patrol where I stayed for few years, before moving to the Safer Neighbourhood Team. I worked in Dallow Ward, Luton, and stayed with that team for about six years. When I look back, this is one of the roles I most enjoyed as I got to work alongside the community looking at solutions for the longer term issues they were facing.
However, the opportunity then came up for me to take a short secondment to the Volume Crime team. Although I had really enjoyed my time working with the community in Dallow Ward, I knew this would be a really valuable opportunity for me, and I took it because I wanted to upskill in certain areas. I spent time investigating crimes, arresting and questioning offenders, and then seeing the case through the court process. My time in the team actually resulted in several convictions, and it felt good to play a part in getting justice for the victims.
After my secondment had finished I moved back to patrolling Luton. At the same time I studied part time to gain a law degree from Hertfordshire University, and then a Masters from Brunel University in Intelligence and Security Studies.
Up until 2015 I had always worked in Luton. But then I was offered the opportunity to move to HQ in Kempston to be the Assistant Chief Constable’s Staff Officer; basically the eyes and ears of the Chief Officer, helping to plan diaries, troubleshooting and flagging up important issues.
I wanted to take the opportunity because I thought it would be a great opportunity to develop my skills in a role that was completely different to any other role I’d held at Bedfordshire Police. It definitely helped me gain a strategic understanding of the force and our direction, I’ve been involved in various meetings and made lots of suggestions to the Force Executive that have been taken on board.
The role of Staff Officer is only available for a year, so my time is nearly finished. I’ve found it to be really useful and I’m glad I took the opportunity as it has allowed me to get involved with a variety of things that I wouldn’t have been able to do as a PC on the beat.
At the end of April I’ll be joining the Community Cohesion Team as the force’s Rural Matters Liaison Officer, initially for three to six months. This is a role that our Force Executive are really keen
I’ve worked for the force for 13 years and it’s been the longest career I’ve had. Before I joined the force I worked in HR department in a bank, but I have found policing to be a much more rewarding career. There is a structured career pathway and lots of prospects, including lots of departments where you can gain different skills, including CID, the Dog Unit, Roads Policing, Firearms, the Public Protection Unit… the list goes on.
Tau has recently passed his Sergeant’s exam – congratulations Tau!
Recruitment for Police Officers is now open and closes on the 15th May. Apply here.