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She’s recently been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Officer of the Year’ by both the British and international associations of women in policing. But growing up Detective Constable Anna Blockley never thought about being a cop – she had her sights set on another criminal catching career.
“The one question I am often asked is did I always want to be a police officer – and the honest answer is no”, said Anna.
“I’ve always been interested in people, understanding people and what makes them tick but at the age of 15 I read an article about a Russian man who had eaten so many people he had his teeth replaced with metal ones and it was then my fascination in wanting to understand criminals really began.
“While studying my degree in applied psychology I spent much of my early 20s wanting to be the real-life female version of Robbie Coltrane’s character in the 90s TV series Cracker – the elusive psychological profiler Dr Edward Fitzgerald.
“My hopes on this as a career was set – I wanted to be the one who profiled murderers and caught them. What quickly became apparent though was this specific role only existed for a very select few but despite this I was determined and after graduating from university I got a job as a psychologist in a prison.
“While working I completed my masters in forensic psychology but my final goal always seemed out of reach and it was then I turned by attentions to policing – there was another way I could solve crimes, and murders in particular – by becoming a detective.”
This decision was the start of Anna’s policing journey and now, with nearly 15 years in the job – 13 of these as a detective, she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“What started out as a bit of a second career option back in 2005 has turned into the most diverse, exhilarating, exciting, tiring, trying and rewarding career I could ask for.
“After a short spell as a uniformed officer the opportunity to apply to become a detective came up and surprisingly to me not only did I pass the interview but I came top of the group of successful officers and my profession as a plain clothed police officer was set.
“I started detective life in the domestic abuse unit, helping to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, before moving to investigating burglaries, robberies and theft of motor vehicles. For seven years I spent my time chasing down criminals who stole from others. It was fast paced and non-stop which I enjoyed. I thrived off catching the criminals, getting them locked up and preventing other people becoming victims.
“During this time what was never far from my mind was my ultimate goal, being part of the team investigating murders. At every available opportunity I would volunteer to work with them and it only helped confirm to me it was where I wanted to be but I felt I still needed a bit more experience before reaching my ultimate goal.
“In 2015 I moved to the child abuse unit and for the past four years have worked as part of the historic abuse team – investigating crimes that occurred sometimes as much as 50 years ago with little or none of the evidence detectives would look for now, such as CCTV and forensics.
“From the moment I started working in the team I knew it was for me. The victims I help have to talk about the most intimate and vulnerable experiences of their lives so they often need a lot of support but being able to help them close the door on parts of their past that have been so painful is empowering and the sense of reward you get is immense.”
In the last two years alone Anna has been able to provide justice for 21 victims with 14 child abusers being sentenced to a total of 125 years.
“I love what I do and feel privileged to do it every day, there’s no other job I would want than being a detective. I still want to investigate murders, and I will, I’m just enjoying the journey to get there a little more than I expected.”
To read more about Anna's incredible recognition by the two policing associations, along with the other winners and runners-up, visit: https://www.leics.police.uk/news/leicestershire/news/2020/july/detectives-receive-double-award-recognition/
To find out more about a career in policing, take a look at www.leics.police.uk/joinus
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