Making a difference for people with vulnerabilities

Before becoming a police officer, I worked in contract catering. I had a good, well paid job with prospects. I progressed quickly, working in loss prevention and training, but I really felt something was missing. There was no real motivation to do more, and certainly no daily excitement. 

I felt there had to be something out there that was a more worthwhile use of my time and, I wanted to make a difference. Ask any of my colleagues and they will no doubt tell you a similar story. I think it’s what drives us as people, and makes us better police officers.

I joined Bedfordshire Police as a Special in 2014, worked on Response and really enjoyed it. Finally! I’d found something that offered me the motivation and excitement I craved. Another plus point being that I could give something back to the community where I grew up.

I went to school in Bedford from the age of 10 through to 18 and, as I spent so much time there, consider that’s where I did my growing up. I actually lived in Milton Keynes but, Bedfordshire is what I knew, and where I’ve made the most connections.

So Bedfordshire is where I chose to join the police, and I became a full time police officer in 2015. I loved my time as a Response officer, going to emergency situations and being first on scene.

I even made national news briefly. I attended a domestic incident in June 2017, then, coincidentally a further one at the same address a week later. The situation had stuck in my mind and, when I heard the address over the radio, I volunteered to respond when I realised I’d been there before.

At the house, I encountered a young man who was the victim of prolonged domestic violence by his partner and, through rapport building and talking with him, persuaded him to leave the house and come with us to get medical attention.

I later arrested his partner and she was eventually jailed for grievous bodily harm with intent, and coercion and control. It was the UK’s first conviction of a female for coercion and control.

I am delighted to have made a difference to at least one person’s life, and been a part of his courageous story.

My background of working in business in multi-agency situations and partnerships gave me a transferable skill set to bring with me into policing. I’ve now been able to translate those skills and put them to good use in order to protect vulnerable people.

When an opportunity to join the Mental Health Street Triage team became available, I seized it.  Much of what we deal with in policing involves helping people with vulnerabilities: as much as 70 per cent.  Only up to 30 per cent is dealing with crimes, as perhaps the general public might recognise.

Now I’ve been promoted to Sergeant and will be taking up a new role with Response at the beginning of March. After my experience with the Mental Health Street Triage team, I feel I am heading into the new role better equipped with the knowledge and skills to deal with the vulnerable people that come into contact with the police.

I would urge anyone who feels like I did to apply. This is a job that will give you the motivation and drive you’re looking for, and allow you to give back to your community.

Sergeant Ed Finn

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