I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and then at about 15 years old I developed cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. However, I have always enjoyed being active and keeping fit and my medical condition doesn’t stop me from doing what I want. At 19 years old, after studying for A-levels, I joined Cambridgeshire police as a detention officer in custody with the hopes of later joining as an officer, which I did after two years.
I really wanted to help people in need or in crisis. I also didn’t want an office job that repeats itself every day; with policing I knew I would be doing something different every day and never know what job I would be going to next, which is really exciting to me. Another really appealing thing I learned about policing is that there are so many career avenues to take and everyone ends up going down a different route and finding something they are really interested or passionate about. I did have some reservations because I am only 5’1” and didn’t know whether I would be strong or big enough to effectively handle conflict and violent situations. I was also hesitant about whether I would be accepted through the medical assessment, however, this proved to be nothing to worry about.
The application process ran quite smoothly for me. I passed everything first time, however, I was delayed by a year because of Covid 19. The hardest part of the application process was the assessment centre because I was really nervous but I managed to have a meeting with the positive action lead and she really helped in explaining the process to me and calming my nerves and I ended up passing! If women were worried about applying I would say that you never know unless you try. There are loads of women on shift who are my size and even smaller so there are no limits. If you believe you can do it I think it’s definitely something you can achieve. There is a place for everyone within policing and I think it’s important to have diversity and people from all different backgrounds. Also, I think if you have a disability you shouldn’t shy away from applying. Each person is assessed on an individual basis and I was supported with my medical condition when I worked as a detention officer and throughout the application stage for police officer.
I felt very nervous on my first shift. Not knowing what I was going to be doing and not really knowing what to do felt very daunting, despite the uncertainty being one of the reasons I wanted to join. My colleagues and I got a woman who was on the wrong side of a bridge overlooking a busy dual carriageway back over to the safe side and took her to hospital- so on my first shift we already potentially saved somebody.
As I got through my first shifts, I started to become excited when we were going to a job. Your adrenaline starts pumping and its exhilarating turning up to a job where you are doing something and making a difference.
The police have so many different avenues for a career and you do develop a police family with the others on your shift. Your shift will support you and try to help you with work if they can. Everyone has been really welcoming and friendly. If it’s something you are considering, why not join and give it a go? You never know until you try and it might be the best thing you ever did.