I remember the first day I turned up at Police Headquarters in a brand new suit and entered what we commonly referred to as the dream factory.
I had always wanted to join the police, I wanted to catch burglars and make people feel safe.
And I can honestly say it’s a decision that I’ve never regretted – I look forward to going to work every single day.
Sergeant Nicola Barlow-Cook has been with Bedfordshire Police for 23 years. She tells us what it’s like to lead the search for a missing person who is living with dementia…
On 13 February, at about 7.30pm, Bedfordshire Police Force Control Room (FCR) took a call from a man reporting his 80-year-old mother, Margaret, missing. Margaret and her friend travelled back to Bedford on the same bus but were then due to get on to separate busses to return to their respective addresses. Margaret did not arrive home.
I was alerted to Margaret’s case by the Force Control Room; Margaret had been deemed ‘high risk’ because her family suspected she had early stage dementia. She had not been seen for a number of hours, so it was vital that our search was methodical but that we acted as fast as possible. I took responsibility as Bronze Commander, which means I coordinated the search.
I was in Leighton Buzzard when the call came through.
Frantic banging from a lorry at Toddington services – we knew it would be illegal immigrants desperate to get out. But we didn’t know how many were there, what condition they would be in and what would face us when we opened the doors.
As more information came over the airwaves I knew we had no time to spare – the lorry was refrigerated which posed even more danger. Continue reading