I served over 30 years in UK policing both as a Special Constable (volunteer) and full time officer, retiring in early 2023. I was lucky enough to perform a wide range of different roles across different police specializations. I joined Surrey Police initially as a Special in 1991, and then as a full time officer in 2004.
In my early years I was something of a thief taker, making lots of arrests on a uniformed proactive team-disrupting criminals and generally making their (criminal) lives difficult. I also answered 999 emergency calls, dealing with all sorts of incidents–fights, assaults, burglaries, robberies, road traffic collisions, drink drivers, shoplifters, fraudsters as well as missing people and tragically a lot of sudden deaths and suicides.
I spent some time carrying out investigations into crime, following up leads, reviewing CCTV and forensic evidence, arresting suspects and undertaking interviews, and then taking cases to court and giving evidence.
I was also part of the Police Search Team for some years, they’re the people you see on hands and knees carrying out so-called ‘fingertip searches’ after a serious incident like a murder.
On promotion to Sergeant I was posted to custody, where I was in charge of a custody suite–the cells! There I learned about the processes and procedures for dealing with arrested persons, ensuring their needs and welfare were dealt with, and that their rights were upheld while they were in police custody.
I spent several years as a neighbourhood Sergeant, a role which required a lot of long-term problem solving–ongoing neighbour disputes, anti-social behaviour hotspots, and crime trends. My team also policed the local town centre, including on Friday and Saturday nights where we got a lot of practice in dealing with drunks, disorder and fights.
After promotion to Inspector I returned to response policing, running a team of officers answering the 999 calls. As “Duty Officer” I had responsibility for all the high risk and critical incidents running across my policing area–such as high risk missing people, and serious incidents such as murders or abductions.
My next posting was to the control room, with responsibility for dispatching police officers to incidents across the entire policing area. I was trained as a Tactical Firearms Commander (TFC), responsible for deploying armed police to the most serious incidents.
On transferring to the Metropolitan Police I took up a full time role as a Tactical Firearms Commander, working on spontaneous incidents, deploying Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs) to incidents across London, 24/7.
Later I moved to a team planning and deploying firearms officers on operations focusing on London’s most serious, violent criminals-those who had firearms, and had used them to murder or maim others, or planned to do so.
I also worked on a number of ceremonial events, such as the State Opening of Parliament in central London, which requires a large number of armed officers to keep everyone safe during such a high profile event. As well as all of these, I was involved in a number of counter-terrorist operations, working alongside Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers.
I commanded the response to literally hundreds of incidents, resulting in the arrest of many dozens of serious criminals, and the recovery of scores of firearms and other dangerous weapons.