Retiring in a global pandemic

Det Chief Supt Mead looks back at a thirty year career at Bedfordshire Police, which started patrolling her home town of Luton before embarking on a Detective career.

Liz is retiring from Head of Crime and Public Protection having worked on several murder, rape, kidnap and serious crime investigations including as a Senior Investigating Officer on the Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit (BCH MCU).

Liz launched Bedfordshire Police’s ‘One Punch Kills’ campaign to raise awareness across Bedfordshire’s schools and communities of the devastating impact one punch can have. Liz has received Judge’s Commendations for her investigative ability and has led the force in cultural change, leadership and ethics.

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How do you retire in a pandemic? Where the over whelming feeling is that you should not be leaving, but staying in support of your colleagues?

Not one I can answer, I have offered to stay but it is time for the next chapter. Coronavirus came along and made everything different but the foundations have been set and the contingency plans developed and instigated.

I have worked with the most incredibly dedicated teams to keep the high service of investigating crime and being there for victims, whilst adapting practices, interpreting ever-changing guidelines and making sure all our teams are protected and working as safely as possible. They accept this and go out every day, knowing they are an emergency service, there always has been and always will be an inherent risk in that, especially now.

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Safeguarding the most vulnerable is our number one priority at any time of the year

I work in the Emerald team, investigating domestic abuse and sexual offences. This time of year, we’ll often see a spike in reporting that carries on through into January, as it’s sometimes a difficult season for individuals, or families, already living with domestic abuse.  Incidences of sexual offences also see a increase at this time of year.

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Reflections on a 30 year career

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.

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