I’ve spent the last three years as a full-time frontline Police Constable with the bulk of it spent working in Clapham and Brixton. I’ve especially loved being your Dedicated Ward Officer, covering Clapham Common Ward. It is quite possibly the best job in uniformed policing: being able to work with and for the community, to have a degree of autonomy and responsibility, to take ownership of a beat and to build relationships with an entire community. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I’ve decided it is time to move on and I’ll be leaving in early May.
It has been great to fight crime, to prevent crime, to send drug dealers to prison, to stand alongside courageous professionals, to use stop and search to make London safer, to make a child’s day, to help those in need, to let hardworking families get a night’s sleep, to make the roads safer, to make a very real difference and to be welcomed and accepted as part of the community.
It has also been phenomenal to have enormous support and backing from so many local residents at community meetings, but especially while out on the street and the local estates. A lot of the support may have been in the form of a hurried whisper out of view in a stairwell, but it meant all the more to me for the courage it took to say the words.
Support and backing has also come from fellow officers. When I’ve needed backup at 4am or 4pm, whether it has been Lambeth colleagues, dog handlers, the Territorial Support Group (TSG), armed colleagues or colleagues from just across the border in Wandsworth, they’ve always had my back and I like to think I’ve had theirs.
It has obviously been “less fun” to be hated, to be assaulted, to suffer broken ribs, to be spat at, to be verbally abused, to be racially abused, to be homophobically abused, to be ambushed in the dock, to be treated with contempt, to be called a paedophile, to be called a Nazi, to be called a racist, to see charges dropped, to be complained about, to be shot at, to see some of the sentences, to bang your head against a brick wall (sometimes repeatedly, nearly always metaphorically), to be but a number to some or a uniform to others, to be second-guessed by those with little or no idea and to not have enough hours in the day or days in the week. Perhaps, sadly, in 2016 it’s all par for the course.
In 2012, writing for The Guardian, I asked:
“is there any more crucial or noble pursuit than the maintenance of law, order and public safety?”
I knew the answer then and I know it now. Through it all, thick and thin, for better or worse, the answer to that question will never change. It’s the reason I became a Special Constable and gave my time freely. It’s the reason I joined full-time. It’s the reason we, as hard-working individuals committed to public safety, will always – in spite of the personal risks – strive to do our best for each other and the public at large.
Photo Credit: @NPASLondon