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Lucy – Humans of Avon and Somerset

When I came back to work after having my first child, I wasn’t willing to compromise on being mum.

Lucy, Team Leader in Leadership Training

Becoming a mother during my career with Avon and Somerset was one of the toughest moments of my job. Any first-time parent, no matter where they work or how long they’ve worked there for, will question whether they will be treated any differently. As well as this, during my maternity leave the pandemic hit, meaning that every way of working had completely changed by the time I returned.  

I began my policing career in the Contact Centre. The variety of calls one after the other was a real learning curve. On one call, I’d be taking reports from a hard-hitting incident, and then the next one I would be asked if the local Neighbourhood team could visit a village fête. I then switched roles and joined as a dispatcher, which really helped consolidate what I’d learnt – sending the resources to incidents and being able to assess the priority was exciting and inspiring.  

Soon after taking up the role of Dispatcher, I joined as a Special Constable. In the Contact Centre, I had been on one side of the frontline, receiving the calls and dispatching them, but I wanted to go to the calls. It was amazing, very eye opening and different to what I thought. I came away from that experience with the upmost respect for our frontline police officers and PCSOs. Ultimately, I decided frontline policing wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to support my operational colleagues, who I’d worked with so closely over the years. I decided to get into training, and I came across to Training School in 2014. 

I became a Team Leader, and the team I was with saw me go through so many stages of my life. They saw me become a girlfriend, buy my first house, get engaged, get married and have my first baby. While I was on maternity leave after having my son, the pandemic hit, which was a horrendous time for us all. I came back to work at the end of 2020, and everything had changed.  

The transition of coming back to work after maternity leave was difficult. The team that I’d left was different to the team I came back into, and our ways of working were very new. Gone were the days of Skype – we were now on Microsoft Teams, which I had no idea how to use. I did a lot of researching online, and still ended up accidentally ringing people and putting myself on mute for a time. I was exploring uncharted territory as a new mother, adjusting to working part-time for the first time in my working life. Every woman in my family have had different experiences of parenthood, so I was receiving varied pieces of advice, and I couldn’t read a magic textbook to tell me all the answers.  

It was difficult trying to navigate the dual roles I’d never experienced before – being a leader at work, being a mother always, and trying to figure out how those roles could coexist and not impose upon each other. The first step towards this was the possibility of switching to flexible remote working. This enabled me to work more hours than I thought I would be able to, by working from home and adjusting my start times. It enabled me to have a real 50-50 balance of being work and being mum, because I wasn’t willing to compromise on being mum.  

My team were very generous and understanding – we all worked together to get through a time where events were changing daily. I then had my second child in 2021 and came back to work in October 2022. I managed to get a development opportunity to come across to Leadership Training. It’s a great chance to harness all the experience I’ve had as a leader over the last 10 years.  

As corny as it sounds, I get a real buzz out of knowing that no matter what your contribution, you’ve had a link into enabling that police officer or PCSO when they’re dealing with the public at a point of crisis. Hearing stories and anecdotes from officers and staff, not just frontline but supporting staff as well, really inspires me to make sure that we are training to the highest level that we can. We are enabling leaders of the future, and it’s just amazing. 

Now, I’m juggling my chaotic life with my fabulous two young children, and my wonderfully supportive husband and family. Alongside balancing being part-time, still being ambitious, and still really passionate about training and learning. I am loving this new chapter in my life.