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A disposable camera was how PC James Yeoman realised his future lay in policing.
His Dad had bought him the camera to capture the action at the Sunderland v Newcastle match they were both attending. But when the photos were developed they were mainly of police dogs, horses and the helicopter rather than the game.
An interest in policing was further developed during a five-week work experience placement with Northumbria Police in the school summer holidays which cemented his career ambitions.
A move to Leicester followed with James moving to the city for University to study Applied Criminology in September 2009. Within a month he had signed up to become a Special Constable, which he did continued throughout his three years of study.
He would work four shifts per week with the response team based in Leicester city centre to get as much experience as possible.
James was on shift on the night that the Rainbow and Dove was subjected to an attack in 2012. The incident prompted him to join the LGBT+ network as a way of meeting new people. Its close knit nature embraced him and allowed him to be much more open about his feelings.
James came out as gay in 2009. He recalls being nervous about telling someone for the first time. He spoke to a colleague who admitted it was a surprise but didn’t make a big deal of it and was immediately supportive and accepted him without exception.
By early 2013 James was a fully qualified police officer. He worked as a response officer in Loughborough for 18 months, worked within the investigation unit for a year before returning again to Loughborough as a neighbourhood officer.
James has been part of the force priority team for the last three and a half years. He is a trained public order officer and medic so deals with football matches, public disorder and protests. The other side of the role is to locate high risk offenders.
As the co-chair of the force’s LGBT+ network, James is keen to express how accepting Leicestershire Police is and encourages people to join, especially now that it is back in the Stonewall Top 100 employers list.
James said “It’s great to work in a supportive environment and one that accepts me for me. I joined the police for the opportunities it would provide and the doors it would open and I’m so pleased I did as no two days are the same.
“I get job satisfaction from catching serious offenders and getting them off the street. I enjoy having a part to play in keeping communities safer.
“The network gives a voice to people who might not have the confidence to speak up. It’s important that they know they can have safe conversations without the fear of judgement of any type in a safe environment.
“As an employer, we know that allowing people to be themselves means they will shine in the workplace.”
When asked about his five year plan, James reveals that he has recently applied to become a traffic officer which he’ll begin within the next six to 12 months. He will also be exploring the idea of promotion with his overall goal of becoming the Control Room Inspector.
Outside of work, James is into fitness and enjoys country walks with his dog Ruby who is a Beagle. Fresh air and exercise are James’s way of relaxing and uses this time to clear his head and process what he’s working on.
Another skill James has is to make a ‘proper’ cup of coffee as he’s a trained barista, jointly owning a family run café back in the north east. Ironically, after working at Leicester City matches for years he’s now more of a rugby fan than a football one!