Becoming a custody sergeant
My dad was a sergeant in the police and my mum joined when I was in my teenage years. I’ve got two younger brothers and they are both police officers now as well. It must be genetic or contagious!
I grew up knowing about the police and when I had jobs in my teens and early twenties, I just got so bored so quickly. I needed something a bit different. I saw a degree in policing and went for it.
I worked my way up to become a police response officer. It can be very high adrenaline. The job that you expect to be routine could turn out to be completely manic. You never know what you’re going to get.
After I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I had to start having medical reviews. That was something I’d never had to think about before, because I was so healthy. My health was definitely something I took for granted.
I was really lucky as I had a great sergeant when I was diagnosed. He was really supportive. To go into work and say, ‘I’ve got type 1 diabetes,’ did feel daunting. But that sergeant just made the whole experience so much easier. He was great, but the people I worked with didn’t always understand. They’d ask me to do something and my blood sugars wouldn’t be good. I felt a lot of pressure to try to hide my symptoms, because I didn’t want to be seen as a burden.
When I went back to work after maternity leave, I went straight back into my normal position as a response officer. I had all the tickets. I could drive with blue lights. I could respond to 999 calls. I had training in using a ‘stinger’ [tyre deflation device]. I was trained to do almost everything on response.
But when I went back, they said everything needed to be reviewed because of my diabetes. I had to do a number of assessments before I could drive or do any of my job. I understood it had to be done, but it did make me feel ostracised. Going from someone who is highly trained, to going on maternity leave and returning unable to use that training felt really off for me. It made me feel like I wasn’t a real part of the team.
That sort of drove me to go for promotion. I needed to do something else. I applied to do my sergeant’s exam and did it within four months of going back to work. Now, I’m a police custody sergeant. I worked from home during lockdown, but have recently returned to work, where my employers have put in a raft of measures to keep me safe from coronavirus.
Now, I think of my life as ‘pre-diabetes’ and ‘post-diabetes’. They say that’s going to happen with the coronavirus, too!