Well I thought it would be about the right time to try and write in this thing and get down my story for other people to take reference from.
I first thought about becoming a police officer at the age of about 9 or 10. I remember that I always used to watch The Bill and fly on the wall police documentaries (like police, camera, action) with my parents. Obviously at this age all that interested me were the chases and putting people in cuffs.... but I loved the rush I got while sitting watching these shows, and gradually a deepening sense of right and wrong began to impress on me as a direct result of watching these programs.
As I grew older and went to secondary school things were not so clear for me as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. The usual things that kids in year 8 want to be (or used to want to be when I was in year 8) were the usual things, like doctors, firemen, soldiers, famous actors... or just incredibly wealthy footballers etc. I was transfixed on either becoming a soldier or just a general office worker. And that’s how it remained for much of the first three years of my secondary school life, and no matter how many times people told me they didn’t want me to be a soldier or no matter what happened, I was never going to change my mind. I even remember going to an army recruitment fair in Colchester when I was 12 - just to see when I could sign up and join the army.
But when I got into year 8, things started to change. I ended up being the subject of some pretty nasty bullying at my school (which was notorious for it). It started out as just odd name calling or the odd shove into the wall as I walked past by some of the kids in my year, but it soon spread to more physical and mental abuse by the other years - bellow and above - and I started feeling pretty low. I remember it as a time when I had to constantly look over my shoulder whenever I was out of the house; I remember being set upon by a group of 10 kids at the local swimming pool when I was with a group of my friends on a Saturday. These are just a few things that I can remember from my school life but one thing that anyone who has been the subject of bullying will relate to is the feeling of helplessness, loneliness and complete rage that you would feel on a day to day basis. Those years changed me and when I got into my final 2 years of school I was near petrified of leaving the house every day.
Anyone reading this might think it was pretty pathetic, and I must admit that I have to agree with them. I tried everything to get the situation resolved, getting the parents down the school, constantly telling teachers what I was going through and even writing to the school councillors. Nothing worked. And it was when my mother and my form tutor suggested that I move to another school that I had finally gone as far as I could and I snapped. I decided to stand up to pretty much an entire school. I remember being petrified that I was going to constantly get my head smashed in but my grades were suffering and I had hardly any friends.
What followed... well you can probably imagine, scores of playground fights when I decided to stand up for myself followed by suspensions from school. By year 11 it was all over. I had managed to stop everything and I even became a school prefect as I now felt I was in a position to have some authority around my fellow students.
During that time of bullying and then watching people get bullied when my ordeal stopped, I felt like someone had to change something. I felt like all of these people were being persecuted and set upon for what seemed to be no reason and no one was there to help them. It was this feeling of wanting to help change things and help the innocent coupled with an Essex police presentation at my school before I left that made me start to seriously think about joining the police again.
So when I went to college I decided to devote my spare time in becoming a police officer, I was passionate about it and it’s what I wanted to do with my life. I studied for an IT diploma so I had something to fall back on and in my own time when I wasn’t working, I would study as much criminal law and watch as many police shows as I could.
I was 18 when I made my first application to the Essex Police Special Constabulary (as recruitment for regulars was on hold when I applied). I was told that when I had gained my IPS as a special I could transfer to the regulars without having to go through the application process again. I passed my entry assessments, vetting and references by the time I was 19 and started my training soon after.
While at training in Chelmsford however I became acutely aware of the massive responsibility that was being placed upon me. The realisation of the duties that I would have to carry out and the power that came with it just became too much for me to handle (being still quite immature as I was) and so I decided to resign 3 weeks before I was due to attest. I was so angry with myself but at the same time I was hoping it was the right decision. I decided to go and get a decent, well paying job in the city and come back to policing when I was older, more mature and able to deal with the power and responsibility that the office of constable held. And also I thought that I would be able to apply straight for the regulars next time around. Bad move.
The time when I started looking to re-apply to the police was right about the same time as the Coalition came to government with the promise of putting policing and public services first, and to overhaul our legal system. Brilliant I thought, but just a few months later they decided to cut a huge chunk of funding to the police services and I found myself being unable to apply for a role even as a PCSO with most of the forces near to me. Even the mighty MET had to suspend most of its recruitment due to the cuts and hundreds of officers were forced into redundancy or made to take early retirement. The only option was to be a special constable for a certain amount of time and then go regular. I was so disheartened that I looked to the army again as a way of having a decent short term career (so I could go back to the police when I left) but even they were not safe as recruitment was scaled back and longer serving soldiers were forced into early retirement as a way of saving money - but I decided to give it a go regardless. Then my grandfather lost his battle with cancer before I was due to go for an army selection weekend. The week before he died he had literally begged me not to join the army and I had promised him. Even now it’s a promise I can’t break so I decided to bin my army application out of respect for a man who had been such an influence to me and had been there for me during my turbulent school years. I was at a crossroads and had no idea what to do. I was working in London at the time and I didn’t see it as a permanent career as I had no job satisfaction. I couldn’t join the army because I had promised my grandfather. I had no clue where my life was going.
I was on the train to work one morning in November 2012 and saw a poster on the tube advertising for MET special constables. I Jumped at the opportunity and applied. I had a great girlfriend and my job was sound. I was offered to attend the initial day 1 assessment on the 12th of January 2011 and I couldn’t wait. But then I lost my job due to redundancy, and then my girlfriend cheated on me, then broke up with me just after Christmas. I was at another low point and inevitably a week later when I went for my day 1, I completely cooked it up. My head just wasn’t in the right place. I was so disheartened when I found out I would have to wait another 6 months before I could apply again. I was at the point of giving up. My parents tried to keep my spirits up, and they along with my friends urged me to try again, to give it one more go.
I applied 9 months later in September 2011. I was now 22 and was working in the city again as an admin assistant for a firm of accountants. I was offered my day 1 in November and I was excited but at the same time I didn’t want to fail. Not again. I attended the support presentation, spent every spare second revising and studying. And I passed! I remember being at work when I got the e-mail and I literally shouted YES and punched my fist in the air. I then went on to pass my day 2 (even though I was suffering from shin splints at the time) and my vetting was confirmed cleared half way through March.
I'm now booked on to an intensive training course that starts on the 11th of June. Things are finally working out for me and the career that I first wanted as a young boy is slowly being realised!
I can’t wait