People often say to me “I don’t know how you do your job, I wouldn’t be able to” I don’t think I do anything amazing and I don’t put myself in harms way, I sit at a desk and fair enough I deal with some fairly horrible, gruesome things but the reason I do it, or more importantly the reason I stick around is because I believe my job is important. What I do matters. And it’s a job that I love, no matter how much I moan! I see a fair few unbelievable things, things that make me despair at the way some people act, things that are sickening and just plain awful but then I think about why I’m doing it, it’s because it means something.

I’m a civvy (or member of Police Staff, more correctly!), have been for 9 years and I deal with serious and fatal collisions and recently I was starting to wonder if I should move on. Being surrounded daily by death and pain, both physical and emotional, eventually takes its toll.  I was worrying that I was becoming too desensitised to the usual emotions that are attached to such collisions. Sadly when I would see on the news that a collision had occurred or when we’d take on a new investigation it wouldn’t make me upset, no emotions would be attached, I would and indeed still do, pretend none of it’s real, job head would always go firmly on and there it would stay until what needed to be done is indeed done.

Please don’t think that I’m a completely horrible cow, some people call it the coping mechanism, I’m just not sure whether my coping mechanism has become so well established that I simply can’t bring myself to have any emotions most of the time. There are of course occasions where those pesky emotions creep in but I will never, ever let it affect my work.

Everything changed for me fairly recently, I went to court with one of our jobs and was introduced to the family of the victim. Now this is one of my worst nightmares. The idea of dealing with people who are grieving fills me with dread, what if I say the wrong thing, what if I upset them or offend them? I’m no good at helping friends who are upset and hurting, can you imagine how much worse I would be with strangers!? It was explained to them my role in the case, then this lovely lady, the Mother of the victim, asked if she could speak to me in private. The panic was well and truly set in at this point!

She took me to one side, quickly hugged me and thanked me. I was somewhat shocked and speechless, why thank me? She then said something which will always stay with me, “Without all of you, every single member of staff who has dealt with this case, we wouldn’t be here today, and that includes you. You are one of the unsung heroes of policing. I can’t thank you enough. Nothing will bring my little girl back and my life will never be the same but thanks to everyone’s hard work I hope today will bring about some closure”.

Now I don’t think for one second that I am a hero in anyway, shape or form, far from it, however if I ever feel down or like its not worth it I think back to this lady, a lady who was grieving for the loss of her daughter.  My work meant a lot to her, so much so that she took the time to thank me and that means more to me than anything.

There’s a lot of talk in the media about frontline numbers being cut, what I would ask you all to remember is this; we ALL make a difference, if police staff numbers are cut it DOES affect the front line. Criminals haven’t decided they are no longer going to commit crime, collision figures are up, the work is still there for us to do and the work is vital, for victims, families and all members of the public. Without staff, officers will fill in the back office roles taking them off the frontline, which of course means a poorer Police Service, for all involved.

Often policing in general whether it be officer’s roles or staff roles, is a thankless task. If you ever feel like doing the job is pointless, or you’ve had enough, think back to this lovely ladies words, or indeed some you have received yourself.

In a time where we are all paying more, getting less, working longer hours and feeling devalued and demoralised, please remember that members of the public do care and there are people out there who really do appreciate all the hard work we put in.

I love my job because I know I’m making a difference, because just for a small portion of my day I get to do something that helps others and I hope above everything that I’m there to stay. Not just for myself but for the families of our victims, people like this lovely lady, who was grieving for her daughter, who chose to take the time to thank me, who thankfully got just a tiny bit of closure that day.

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