What 40 years in force looks like

blog2I joined the force in 1976 when female officers were known as Women Police Constables (WPCs). It was a completely different era Life on Mars was quite accurate. Although WPCs were allowed on section, which was a fairly new way of working, we were still tasked with dealing with ‘women’s issues’, which involved dealing with any female or child victims. There were very few women in the force, in fact it was a rarity to have one on each section and when I joined I was the only woman on my intake.

WPCs had to wear skirts; there were no trousers, a box style hat, double breasted jacket and a cape, which didn’t keep you warm or dry at all. It was quite different from the heavy kit officers have to carry around today. Female officers were also given a long handled handbag to carry their small custom made truncheons.

I remember it being said ‘it would probably be best to keep it in the handbag and swing the handbag if you needed protection, the only use the truncheon would be for is breaking windows.’ The men were given much longer and more suitable truncheons.

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“It matters to me because this is my community too”

I joined Bedfordshire Police in 2007, and I’ve been a PCSO for nine years.shezad-ahmed-din-feb-2017

I saw a poster about the role, and I applied because I wanted to give something back to the community. My objective has always been to help out in my community, and I knew a couple of people who used to work for the force who said they thought I would make a good PCSO, which encouraged me to apply.

After I applied I was invited to interview and then had to pass a fitness test. Then we had around 12 weeks of classroom based training before going out on duty with police officers. PCSOs were relatively new at that stage, but I got a lot of support from my Sergeant and other officers who helped me find my feet. In turn, I helped them learn more about the role of a PCSO. One thing I’ve learned since being here is that there is always someone here for guidance if you need it.

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Just a standard day

The man punched in the face, who’s upset and scared.

The woman threatened by her ex-partner, screaming on the phone.

The woman whose house has been burgled – and completely trashed.

The drivers injured and shaken in a crash on the M1.

The people injecting heroin.

The paramedics who need help with a patient acting aggressively.

The injured man who doesn’t know how he got his cuts.

The woman worried about her daughter, who has gone missing again.

The shop worker threatened with a gun.

The motorcyclist hit by a car.

The child hit by a car.

The woman sexually assaulted by someone she knew.

The child sexually assaulted by someone they knew.

What do these people have in common?

They all needed the help of Bedfordshire Police on the same day.

We also stopped a man at Luton Airport wanted on suspicion of rape.

We went back to the airport to greet someone who was wanted by another force.

We received 30 reports of domestic abuse. One report of hare coursing. Seven reports of burglary. 45 reports of concern for welfare.

Not to mention the many reports of shoplifting, criminal damage, and anti-social behaviour.

That day we took 395 calls. It was just a standard day. 

We want to continue to be able to help you when you need us. We also want to continue to deliver the community policing you value and deserve.

But we need your help.

We have just 169 officers per 100,000 people – compared to the national average of 232 – and we’re facing further cuts.

Please help us continue to deliver the police service you want and need, by signing our petition today. 

Thank you.