If I was me now, 30 years ago, submitting my application to join the police, I’d tell myself this:
Age is just a number. It’s ok to be the youngest on the team because in a department it’s what you do that matters. One day you’ll be the oldest, the most experienced, and you’ll be the one being told ‘I wasn’t born when you joined!’ And in a blink it will be over!
Policing is a family, tied together across county, country and continents. The blue line; that symbol of pride and often sorrow. Like all families, you will love them, be frustrated by them, sometimes be disappointed, share the good times and celebrations and at all times you will have a sense of belonging. It’s an eternal tie.
I am very fortunate to have some truly supportive people around me. In recent years I have had to rely on these people, as me and my family have had to face the most traumatic event of our lives – the murder of my brother.
On 25 January 2014, my little brother Isaac Stone was attacked on Costin Street, Midland Road, Bedford. He was 19.
Isaac was a happy go lucky person, he always had an infectious smile on his face – a very big one at that, which everyone would comment on! He was handsome, kind hearted and very nurturing. He had time for everyone, and would always be willing to help someone else.
I 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.