Response Officer Christopher Hudson shares his journey into policing and what he thinks of the job
I have a degree in criminology and after I graduated I worked in event security for a while. It was interesting but I was looking for something that was more interesting and rewarding and I made a decision to join the police.
The recruitment process was easy – surprisingly. And that was because of the Positive Action team. At the time I was recruited North Yorkshire Police had invited people from diverse backgrounds to these seminars and workshops, just to practice your skills before you went in for the real process. So you did a mock interview, and a mock assessment centre, just so you could get your head around it. It was good because you were getting senior officers helping out with the role plays, and you were with people that you felt were there to help you through the process.
The training I enjoyed a lot. It was long hours – I was travelling from Leeds up to Northallerton every day – but the training programme was really interesting. The trainers were helpful – you felt that you could always go to them if you had a problem. I think the best bit was meeting the people on the course. We had a lot in common, and I made quite a few friends along the way.
I’m based in Harrogate now as a Response Officer. My first day was pretty unnerving because you don’t really know what to expect, and whether what you’ve learned in the classroom is going to translate to the practical side of the job. You feel a bit anxious when you start about whether you’re going to be able to do the job – especially responding to your first blue light call. You’re in the vehicle with the blue lights going and you’re trained, but your mind is still going about a million miles an hour. You’re wondering what you’re going into, and hoping that you can remember what you’ve learned and put it into practice. But it’s very exciting. It’s a challenge that I look forward to now.
So a typical day for me now is that I’ll get the uniform on and grab my equipment – the camera, the radios and so on. Then I head down to the briefing area. When we’ve had the briefing, I’ll go to the response room, log on to a computer and check my emails and job list and see what’s outstanding. Then it’s a case of conducting my enquiries and responding to calls that come in. There’s always something to do. We’re always busy.
I am involved in lots of different types of things. So if there’s been a burglary, I might be out doing house-to-house calls to see if anyone’s seen anything. Or I might deal with a shoplifting incident. I might have to take statements from the victims or collect CCTV. Or potentially I might have to conduct enquiries at the home address of someone who has gone missing, or speak to their associates to see if I can trace where they’ve been. But ultimately the most exciting aspect of the job is engaging and dealing with conflict.
You have a tutor for the first 15 weeks that you’re out with in the district. They are really supportive. They will take a step back and let you take the lead, but they are there if you need it. They’re also there to support you emotionally. I’ve been in some quite difficult situations dealing with people who have mental health difficulties, but the tutors debrief the situation afterwards and consider you’re feeling.
There’s a really good camaraderie in the team I’m in. We have work nights out every couple of months and we all get along.
Policing has surpassed my expectations in that I didn’t expect the career fulfilment that it is giving me at the moment. It is very fulfilling to help people with victims of crime and to be able to speak to people, not as a robotic cop, but as a human being. You do feel you’re making a difference. You know you’re not going to solve all the problems and clean up the streets entirely, but you can make an impact in people’s lives. And I like the fact that you’re not working towards a business objective where it’s all about profitability and targets. My job is all about helping real people.
There is a lot of paperwork in policing. There’s a paperwork trail behind everything that you do, but I was expecting that because before I became an officer I was a PCSO. I learn a lot from observing, so even though I was a PCSO – which is a different role – it helped me to be around officers to see what they did and how they did it.
The most exciting job I’ve been on so far one where there was a man with mental health problems who had been contained in this corridor because he’d become really violent. He resonated with me because he was an Afro-Caribbean male about the same age as me. When we arrived he was very aggressive with me and my colleague, and we were there for about five hours just talking to him about his story and life in general. We just kept talking him down gradually until he was calm and eventually we got him to the point where he was happy to go with the medical practitioners to hospital. I was really proud that we managed to get hold of the situation just by speaking to him as a person.
My short term goal is to learn the Response role competently. I’d also like to get involved in the recruitment side of things and be an ambassador for BME people in the Force. Longer-term, there are lots of options. The good thing about the police is the secondments that you can get. CID or firearms would be great to try out.
In terms of being from an Afro Caribbean background, I don’t feel I get treated any differently from any of my colleagues. And for me it’s fulfilling that you can drive round and have people from diverse backgrounds relate to you and believe you police in their best interests. It also shows them that a career in Police is applicable to them.
Engagement is key if the Police want to increase their reputations in diverse communities. Without getting too political I think there needs to be more engagement on both sides – not just the police but also from diverse communities. The problematic history of Policing in the BME community still hinders some community relationships to this day, so I think it is important for the police to recruit black officers and for North Yorkshire Police to continue with the Positive Action campaign. It pointed me in the right direction, and gave me the support I needed in that application process.Last modified: June 12, 2019