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Staff stories - constables

PC Tom Wright
PC Tom Wright
PC Tom Wright, Dog Section

I joined Warwickshire Police, as I love the county and the variations of both the towns and the countryside, and wanted to work in an area I have enjoyed living.

I was a special constable with Warwickshire before joining as a PC and working from Leamington on the response shift. I then worked at both Kenilworth and Warwick, before joining the dog section in 2009, where I have been ever since.

The best thing about my job is working with the dogs to catch the criminals and help the most vulnerable people. Warwickshire Police is a small but great force to work for, and I would never move from here. It's very much like a big family.

PC Lucy Oakley
PC Lucy Oakley
PC Lucy Oakley, Dog Section

I have always wanted to be a police officer. Warwickshire's ethos of a smaller force where everyone knows your name really appealed to me.

I joined Warwickshire Police and started as a probationer at Coleshill/Atherstone Police station. After passing my probation, I remained at Coleshill Police station and did four years on response, before applying for a job on the Dog Section. I was fortunate enough to be selected, and have spent the last 11 years on the Dog Section.

Here at Warwickshire Police, I have made friends for life. Even when working long hours, single crewed, I know I'm never on my own. We all look after each other. I get to work with my best friends, who are always happy and never talk back or complain, although they are not very good when it comes to paperwork!

PC Craig Rogers
PC Craig Rogers
PC Craig Rogers, Driver Training

My career with Warwickshire Police began in 1999. I was a probationary constable at Stratford Police Station until I joined the force's ANPR team as an advanced driver/traffic patrol officer in 2003. This was an enjoyable role which ranged from dealing with run of the mill traffic offences, stolen vehicles up to dealing with organised criminal teams. When the team was disbanded 12 months later, I remained in a traffic officer role at Greys Mallory, where I enjoyed a great team mentality dealing with our more serious road traffic incidents and sadly fatal and serious injury road collisions.

I was a Family Liaison officer for six years, supporting bereaved families through fatal investigations; a rewarding, humbling, saddening and demanding role. I remained in this role until force reorganisation in 2011, when my unit was absorbed into local policing and the demands that are involved in day to day policing... a culture shock for a traffic cop!

Around this time, due to personal reasons, I transferred to Sussex Police, where I experienced a very different working and policing environment, but returned to Warwickshire in 2014. I was welcomed back by former colleagues and those that had not met me before, but were willing to learn from my experience. The alliance with West Mercia Police was in full swing at this time and I appreciated the support of my colleagues, especially the new ones that had never experienced 'the old ways'. In this period, I was rewarded with a superintendant's commendation for my work in locating a vulnerable missing person and using the advanced first aid skills I had acquired in Sussex to save her life.

In early 2014, I applied for and successfully gained a role in the driver training department. Now at 19+ years' service, I am giving back to a career that I have enjoyed, been depressed by, has completely changed me but would not change for a moment. I have gained lifelong friends and associations, laughed at the most horrific situations that any human can witness or experience and cried at human suffering in the extreme.

Warwickshire Police is going through another period of change and old hands like me will always recite the old tales and tell about how much better it was 'back in the day', but two decades ago, I heard those tales and moans and in 20 years' time the new recruits will be telling theirs!

Sarah Adams
Sarah Adams
Sarah Adams, Intelligence Officer, West Midlands Regional Confidential Unit and Warwickshire Police Co-ordinator, National Police Autism Association

I am an Intelligence Officer with the Regional Organised Crime Unit, and have worked with Warwickshire Police since July 2013.

I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in September 2017, aged 26. ASD is the name for a range of similar conditions, including Asperger syndrome, which affect a person's social interaction, communication, interests and behaviours; it is a developmental disability.

I had always felt as though I didn't fit in, always struggled to make and maintain friendships, had poor timekeeping and always seemed to say the wrong thing. Growing up was incredibly lonely. I was described as 'quirky' and though academically I did very well, I struggled to physically keep up with college and university and had a lot of absences. Despite this, I walked away with a 2.1 honours degree in Forensic and Investigative Studies in 2013.

I had always had a strong interest in policing and the law and I joined Warwickshire Police as a staff member and Special Constable while coming to the end of my studies. After hearing a colleague describe her experiences with her autistic child, I started to study the condition and identified strongly with a lot of the characteristics and behaviours being described. I didn't act on this for fear of being ridiculed for a couple of years, until I was eventually prompted to see my GP in 2016 following a series of unfortunate personal events.

It took 12 months to achieve an official diagnosis through the NHS and I was supported by my partner, my colleagues and my line manager. My motivations for wanting a diagnosis stemmed from a desire to be accepted, and to accept myself; I needed to give myself a break and having a diagnosis allowed me to understand myself in a way I never had. This meant less pressure and allowed me to make the necessary adaptations to avoid meltdowns, and burn out and give me the confidence that I severely lacked by this point.

As dramatic as it sounds, my entire life suddenly made sense. After engaging with the force health and safety assessors, I was given access to reasonable adjustments and was massively reassured by how understanding and knowledgeable they were about autism. They understood that autism was more than struggling to socialise: it affects everything, including executive functioning - the things that stop you bumping into things, what makes you be on time to work, how material feels, how loud seemingly insignificant noises can be, and how to plan and prioritise.

Now, with a just a few adjustments I am able to function more efficiently and feel confident in my work and my ability. I do not see my being autistic as something that disables me - without being autistic, I would not be able to process large amounts of data and remember it all, I wouldn't spot details, patterns and trends in jobs I am dealing with, I wouldn't be able to recall VRMs and dates of births from memory and I wouldn't have the ambition to try as hard.

A colleague told me about the National Police Autism Association and it has been a relief to share my experiences with other police officers and staff from all over the country who also have autism or know someone with autism. I have since become the Force Co-ordinator of the National Police Autism Association and I am now involved in trying to develop a way forward with regards how we deal with autism as a community and raising awareness.