Supt Mike Walker column: Police officer is a job like no other
Superintendent Mike Walker is based at Harrogate Police Station and is North Yorkshire Police's County Commander overseeing the Harrogate, Craven, Hambleton and Richmondshire districts.
When I get asked what I do for a living and tell people that I am a police officer with North Yorkshire Police, I usually receive a mixture of responses. But the one I receive the most is “you must see a lot in that job!”
And it’s true – I can’t think of any other job which challenges you and pushes you like this one does, but that is also as rewarding as being a police officer.
Throughout my career I have faced a whole variety of situations and scenarios which have opened my eyes and allowed me to develop numerous skills. These situations have tested my decision making abilities, my communication and management skills and given me the chance to work independently and as part of a team.
My job truly is a job like no other and no two days are ever the same. Ultimately at the end of the day, I am helping people when they need it most and working to make my community a better and safer place, something that I take a lot of pride in.
Next week North Yorkshire Police will launch a recruitment campaign for student officers. The force is looking to increase the number of officers over the next two years – so this campaign is the first step on the path to recruiting new officers into the force.
I can well imagine that choosing whether to apply for the role is a big decision for some, whether they feel that they possess the qualities and skills needed to become a police officer and whether they can handle the challenges that the role will present them with.
My advice is go for it. Unless you apply you will never know your full potential and be assured, if you have the qualities and skills it takes to be offered a job – you will receive support and training from day one.
Once you have passed through your training and you become a probationer, the on the job experience you gather will be invaluable in your later career.
One of my earliest (and most embarrassing) memories within the first few weeks of my probation period at York was attending a report of two males who were suspected of committing criminal damage in a street. When we arrived at the scene we caught sight of the suspects and my tutor constable politely requested that I “go get them”.
I set of at pace and quickly gained on them, but they just disappeared and headed over a railway bridge. As I passed over the bridge I lost sight of them momentarily but as I headed down the steps of the bridge two very helpful gentlemen pointed out the direction that they had just seen the men run in.
I kept up the pursuit but couldn’t spot them anywhere and after a few more minutes came to the conclusion that I had lost them and returned to the patrol car.
As I approached I saw my tutor had detained the two suspects, who of course turned out to be the helpful gentlemen that had pointed me in the right direction.
So we all make mistakes in the early days, but all these experiences add up to make you a better officer in the long run (no pun intended).
After your probationary period is up the future really is up to you. The police service offers so many alternative career paths that you can specialise in – Cybercrime, Firearms, Dog section, Major Crime, Investigation and Detection – you can choose the path that suits your interests and strengths the best.
The force welcomes applications from people with a wide range of experience and different backgrounds. It’s widely recognised that a diverse police force is a stronger police force and that each individual brings their own set of insight, qualities and skills with them which will ultimately lead to a more effective police force that is reflective of the society it polices.
So if you are interested in having a job like no other, make sure you visit the North Yorkshire Police website from Monday, April 25 - www.northyorkshire.police.uk - for all the information you will need to apply.