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Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, my perception of a police officer was a 6ft burly man with a moustache – it isn’t a career I had given any thought to.
It was just coincidence that on a summer’s day in 1992 – as a man in my early 20s, who was looking for a more challenging career, I started talking to my neighbour while I was mowing the lawn – he just so happened to be a cop.
He asked me if I was interested in joining but I honestly thought I wasn’t tall enough. A few months later, he handed me an application form and that was the start of my policing journey.
Prior to my life in the force I had been to university and was a qualified electronic engineer – spending my days repairing TVs and radios in the days when people would rent them! I was looking for something with a little more job satisfaction and career progression.
My wife and the rest of my family were quite apprehensive about my new career move, being the first in my family and my extended community to join. Policing wasn’t traditionally seen as a respected career in my community but my family couldn’t have been prouder when I passed my initial training.
Fast forward 27 years and I can certainly say a challenging, rewarding career, with opportunity to develop is exactly what I have experienced and I have even managed to inspire a few friends and family to join along the way.
My latest position is as the neighbourhood policing commander for the east of the city - responsible for a team of sergeants and officers working with the communities to help solve local issues and concerns.
In previous roles I have policed Melton, Oakham, Belgrave and the Hamilton area of the city, overseen the force’s control room that deals with our emergency and non-emergency calls, coordinated officers responding to live incidents and worked as a detective inspector in the police’s dedicated rape investigation unit.
I have worked in so many areas of the force, in both frontline roles and detective roles and my time in the policing family has also seen my own family expand with a son, now aged 25 and a 22-year-old daughter.
I’ve met the Queen twice, been to Buckingham Palace after receiving a medal for services to policing and was part of a team of Leicestershire officers who helped police areas of London during the 2012 Olympics.
I know it sounds cliché but I can’t think of any other job where a career spanning nearly 30 years would be as varied as this!