After nearly 30 years nursing sick babies and supporting families through some of their most difficult times, most people would choose to put their feet up when the time came to retire.

But not for one of the force’s latest recruits.

Instead, at the age of 56, Julia Parker decided to take on a new challenge – protecting and serving the public as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

Julia retired as a deputy sister in June last year after spending 29 years working in the Leicester Royal Infirmary neonatal unit. During this time she spent seven years specialising as a transport nurse – providing care to babies as they were being moved to other facilities and 10 years as the lead for bereavement.   

She was looking for something different to occupy her new free time when her daughter suggested applying to become a PCSO. And if anyone could give Julia an insight into the role it would be her 20-year-old daughter Anna who has been doing the job for 18 months.

“When Anna suggested applying for the role I thought I was too old,” said Julia.

“But when she told me someone in her cohort was 59 I gave it some real thought. Working as a nurse for so many years I felt I had lots of transferable skills and I like working with people so I decided to apply.

“After working in a senior position for so many years and knowing my job inside out it was quite daunting to step out of my comfort zone and try something new but I am so pleased I did. My initial training has gone well and my tutor has been so supportive as I’ve got to grips with the role.

“I’ve been out of my training period for about a month now but due to recently testing positive for Covid I have only spent about 10 days so far working on my beat in Loughborough. I’m already really enjoying the variety though - each day is different and brings new challenges.”

And when at home Anna isn’t the only one Julia can turn to for advice on her newfound policing profession.

Her husband Ian can offer some expert guidance after 30 years’ service as a police constable and sergeant - retiring in July last year.

“I am so proud of what Ian achieved in his 30 years and what Anna has achieved in her time with the force so far. I hope I am able to live up to the high bar set by the other policing Parkers,” added Julia.