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.
On Friday (1 March), I was one of eight PCSOs who took part in a passing out ceremony, after completing initial training with Bedfordshire Police. On Thursday this week, I begin my first shift on the beat, working with the anti-social behaviour team in Dunstable and Houghton Regis and I can’t wait to get started and make a positive contribution to my county.
Like most people, as I was approaching the end of my university course I had to think about getting job. My mum in particular was very keen to stress this.
I was looking at loads of grad schemes. They all paid good money, but for a lot of them I didn’t know what I would actually be doing. I am sure everyone has a friend who gets paid a lot of money, but can’t actually explain with any detail or clarity what their job actually is.
So I started to think about what I actually wanted to do, and a little voice in the back of my mind said ‘police officer? That’s cool’. It didn’t feel like a job that real people did though. It felt more like a job you see on TV.
I ended up putting all my eggs in one basket and only applied to become a police officer. I was fortunate enough to get accepted and joined the Police Now graduate programme in July 2017.
Eighteen months later, I have no doubt that I made the right decision. I would much rather be a police officer than earning loads of money doing a job where I can’t explain to my friends what it is that I actually do.
Every day is different working for the police and you are put in so many situations where you can tangibly help people.
A recent example of this is a vulnerable woman who disclosed to me that she had been raped. I had to do everything I could think of to initiate a thorough police investigation, and also put in place support for her on a lot of different levels.
There is no other job where you need to be creative in coming up with solutions in such a highly charged moment for that person you are supporting. It is moments like that where you can take real pride in your work, knowing you have made a genuine difference to someone’s life.
That’s the most rewarding part of the job and the main reason why I joined – to help victims. It’s about helping peopleat a critical and often devastating time when they are vulnerable and have nobody else to call, and ensuring that vulnerable people get proper support when they need it.
It is like living 1,000 small lifetimes, because you get a unique view into other people’s lives in a time when they are at their most vulnerable. You get an insight into their world, and in many ways you know that person sometimes more intimately than their closest family and friends do, given the experience you share with them.
You don’t get to do that on a grad scheme at Aldi.
PC Billie Scholten
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