From patrol to Major Crime

DC Rachel ChandlerDetective Constable Rachel Chandler joined the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit (MCU) in November 2014, after working as a patrol officer and in CID.

I didn’t want to be a Police Officer when I was younger – I actually wanted to be an air hostess. I changed my mind when I was older, as I had a boyfriend who was a police officer and when he would tell me about his day it sounded so interesting and was always different.

And so in 2005 I joined the Police; I initially joined Cambridgeshire Constabulary, and then I transferred to Bedfordshire Police in 2008, spending time on patrol in Luton.

Patrol is constantly busy and you never know what you’ll be doing that day. You’re constantly busy and you’re using lots of different skills; you have to be a good communicator because you’re talking to people all the time and you have to be able to think on your feet as well.

When you’re in uniform, you form a really close friendship group with other people in uniform, and those friendships will last throughout your career as you all progress.
After nine months on patrol, I moved to CID and started investigating things like robberies and burglaries. When I went to CID I realised I enjoyed the investigative side of things, and that I wanted to continue doing that kind of thing. In 2014 I had the opportunity to join the MCU, and I went for it.

The MCU is a really friendly place to work; we’re all quite close and we all muck in together. Everyone working here is so dedicated and motivated. On the occasions where you have to stay at work, you don’t mind working the overtime as everyone pulls together.

During my time in CID and the MCU I’ve been involved in a variety of things; I’ve investigated murders, shootings, a £100k fraud and so called honour based incidents. The latter featured in the second series of 24 Hours in Police Custody, and the father who was responsible got quite a lengthy sentence.

You can’t help but put yourself in the victim’s shoes sometimes, and you do want to work hard to get the best result for the victim and their family. When you get a good result it makes all the work worthwhile.

Interviewing people is always interesting, and probably one of my favourite parts of the job. I’ve interviewed people who have been arrested for killing someone and they’ve shown no emotion, like nothing is going through their head at all. Dealing with historic cases can be fascinating too, because you have to track down everyone who made a statement at the time and go and meet them to see if they remember what happened.

This job is like no other. Every day is different, and you never know what you will come in to. There are so many opportunities in the police as well because you don’t have to come in and stay in one department forever.

It’s not just a boy’s job either – I’m quite a girly girl and I love what I do.

Because you get involved in so many things as a patrol officer, that time will help you work out what you enjoy and your strengths and weaknesses. When you get to know the force and the different departments, you’ll have a good idea of where you want to go from there.

I’ve been in the MCU for about 18 months now, and in this role I feel like I’m making a real difference to people’s lives. At some point I would like to take my Sergeant’s exam but at the moment I am really happy where I am, and I hope I can continue to make a difference.


One thought on “From patrol to Major Crime

  1. shirl elston 3 July, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    What an interesting read! Well done for your dedication and willingness to succeed. In the darkest of times I guess you are so focused on your job that it must feel great when you receive positive recognition for your efforts. Hard work and determination is key, I think this has helped me to decide which goals are achievable. My niche has to be within the forces somewhere. My beloved mother always said i would make a good girl cop! thanks again good luck for the future 🙂


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