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Celebrating Women in Policing 2016

Bijou Nkumu

Mum, paraglider, rock climber and Police Community Support Officer

I’m Bijou. I'm a very optimistic and outgoing person who likes to help others.

As a PCSO I have the opportunity to solve problems and help people in difficult situations.

I find working with children especially rewarding - these days’ children are often confused and lacking positive role models.

'Sometimes we choose our work and other times the work chooses us'

Two years ago, I took climbing lessons and became hooked.

This gives my 12-year-old daughter, my partner and I something to do together that we all enjoy.

PCSO Bijou Nkumu
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Kate Dubber

Nana, Postman Pat lover and Incident Assessor and Review Officer

I’m Kate and I have been working here for 14 years and I love it. I began as a call handler.

After 12 years, I felt I needed another challenge and moved into the Incident Assessment Unit (IAU).

My ambition was to be an air stewardess. But at 17 I had a motorbike accident and I lost my leg. I use crutches to get about. I had to make big career-changing decisions to adapt to my disability.

I married and had two children. I loved being a housewife and mum, but as I found myself laughing at Postman Pat whilst eating my lunch – and the kids were at school – I decided I needed to get a job.

Working in IAU is about accuracy and is victim focused. We have to know the difference between common assault and GBH (grievous bodily harm), theft and robbery. We are the first point of contact for the victim.

Kate Dubber IAU
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Rebecca Evans

Socialite, bookworm and Crime Scene Investigator

I’m Rebecca and I am a volume crime scene investigator (VCSI) collecting forensic evidence to identify the person responsible for the crime.

I have been in this role for 18 months and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

It’s nice feeling to know you have made a difference to someone that is possibly having the worst day of their life, especially if your evidence helps identify those responsible and bring the victim some closure.

I studied Forensic Science at university and then a Masters in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology.

Nothing beats being out and about, customer facing, and seeing the impact of your work. Putting on the ‘forensics’ jacket for the first time makes you feel pretty awesome.

RebeccaEvans
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Helen

Student, award winner and cadet

I’m Helen and I joined the cadets in November 2012 with our first intake.

I have enjoyed supporting at events such as Glastonbury Festival where I was part of the high visibility patrols ensuring public safety.

I had to escort the ambulance crew, clearing a path through the crowds to the pyramid stage, where a member of the public had collapsed.

I was always interested in joining. I am very shy and being a cadet has given me so much confidence. It also gives you great work prospects and things to talk about in interviews.

I can talk to a five-year-old and a 75-year-old, it has improved my communication skills and I feel proud that I am able to help people.

I received a Gold Commanders Award for my support with during the Somerset Level’s flooding.

Helen Cadet
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Samantha Berry

Outdoor-loving mum and Victim & Witness Care Officer at Lighthouse

I’m Sam and I am a based at the Lighthouse Bristol hub. When an incident is reported to the police and the victim is identified as vulnerable, intimidated or persistently targeted they are referred to my team.

I liaise with the officer in the case, internal departments and other outside agencies.

If an incident goes to court, I keep the victims and witnesses updated. 

I enjoy speaking to people in the community to reassure them and help make a difficult time less confusing. I

t’s rewarding to see the difference you can make.

I am also the Hate Crime point of contact for Bristol and I volunteer for the police LGBT Liaison Team.

Samantha Berry
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Ayesha Giles

Spin class addict, sweet lover and Staff Officer

I’m Ayesha, I finished my psychology degree in 2004 and saw an advert for the police.

I worked on response for two years.

I knew I wanted to be a Detective and so moved to the burglary squad in 2007. In 2010, I qualified as a Detective and worked in the Bristol CID office.

In 2015, I was promoted to Detective Sergeant on Protect, which means I manage a team investigating child abuse, domestic abuse, rapes, serious sexual assaults.

'Every day is different'

It can be overwhelming, fun, exciting, sad and challenging, so it helps if you have a sense of humour, positive attitude and a great team with you.

Seeing the difference that you make is amazing.

Ayesha Giles
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Sabeena Ali

Travelling cake eater and Police Constable in Investigations

I’m Sabeena.

After completing my Masters Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, I worked for two and a half years at Parc Prison.

I started my policing career in Bath, on the response team, and stayed for 5½ years. I have just recently moved to Investigations.

I hope to eventually gain my Detective qualification.

I find the role, fun and exciting, where I am constantly faced with new challenges and experiences.

I meet lots of new people and each day is a learning curve.

I can honestly say that if I was in any other job, I would easily get bored.

Sabeena Ali
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Molly

Ambitious former apprentice who is starting work as a Business Liaison Officer

I’m Molly and I joined as an apprentice in 2014.

I spent the year learning about the constabulary and the business side of the organisation.

I wanted to work in an environment where I could give something back to the community and I love it.

After my apprenticeship, I was lucky to be offered an exciting temporary role at Black Rock Specialist Training Centre as an administrator.

I work on reception and manage the training schedules.

As my contract is due to end, I am really pleased to say that following an interview I am now going to be employed permanently in finance as a business liaison officer.

Molly
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Kay Wozniak

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable

After joining Avon and Somerset in 1986 and serving in uniform and CID at every rank, I was appointed Temporary Assistant Chief Constable in January 2014.

Thankfully, gender equality in policing has come a long way since the days when, as a police woman with two years’ service, my role during night shifts was always to deal with enquiries at the Station Office. That was until any women were arrested… and then, as the only female on duty, my job was to look after them in custody.

Luckily, thinking changed and I’ve enjoyed various responsibilities since then including being a Senior Investigation Officer (SIO), the Director of Intelligence, a uniform Superintendent in Bristol, a public order commander, the force lead for Offender Management, an Area Commander in two different localities and, most recently, a firearms commander.

I have helped to champion force Gender Agenda initiatives for all women, through things like Springboard and our own Women’s Network, to bring equal opportunity, balance and a different perspective to everyday policing.

KayWozniak

Not everyone wants to be promoted; it’s important our individual career choices are respected and everyone is encouraged to be the best that they can be. I’m proud to work for a Constabulary where there have been successful women at every rank for many years and indeed, one of our ‘exports’ has just become the Chief Constable of Hampshire Police!

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Lou Grabham

Mum, animal lover and Police Officer Dog Handler

I’m Lou and I feel privileged to have two amazing dogs that I love to work and share with my family. It’s fair to say that my husband is very understanding.

Home life is rather busy when you put two daughters, an elderly horse, chickens, cats, guinea pigs and our pet spaniel into the mix. I just have to keep juggling those balls and often survive on five hours sleep. But it is so worth it.

I started my career almost 24 years ago. I trained as a Detective and worked in CID and the Child Abuse Investigation Team.

My ambition was always to be a dog handler. The assessments were tough and physically challenging to test those with grit and determination. I may not have been the fastest, but I have bucket loads of that. I fell at the interview stage and had to repeat the assessment 18 months later. That was almost seven years ago now.

My advice is to choose something you enjoy and it doesn’t feel like work - follow your dreams.

SP Lou Grabham
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Leanne Weeks

Mum, weight lifter and Police Constable

I’m Leanne.

I live with my partner Charlotte, my two stepsons, five cats and a dog.

I have been a police constable for 12 ½ years, and a member of the LGBT liaison team for two ½ years. I wanted to be a police officer from the age of ten.

I also volunteer as a police cadet leader.

I have been involved in situations that have made me cry with laughter and with sadness.

I have been assaulted, shouted at, sworn at and hated by some, but thanked, hugged and welcomed by the majority.

If I can go home at the end of a shift knowing I have done all I can to help someone, then I am doing what I joined to do.

Leanne Weeks

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Annette Coleman

Lip gloss-loving, rock climber and Firearms Officer

I’m Annette and I’m a firearms officer working as part of Tri Force Specialist Operations. When I joined the police almost 15 years ago I had never anticipated that I would join the firearms team.

I provided support on an operation, where I observed the firearms team negotiate a male from a property. I thought to myself: “I could do that but I know nothing about guns”. I found out more about the role and for the last nine years have never looked back.

I am now the Acting Sergeant on the team covering firearms, roads policing and dogs. I am an operational firearms commander, tactical advisor and tactical medic. I really enjoy my job. Every day is different and I have been lucky enough to be involved in some exciting jobs such as the Olympics in Weymouth and the NATO Summit.

Outside of work I wear pretty dresses, enjoy shopping for shoes and love anything pink and sparkly. It’s a complete contrast to my role.

Annette Coleman

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Helen Riddell

Eagle Owl for the Brownies, cold water swimmer and Police Sergeant

I’m Helen and I joined the police in London in September 1988.

I have been a beat officer, response officer, traffic officer and a firearms officer with the Diplomatic Protection Group. I was seconded to Royalty Protection in Balmoral.

The most wonderful aspect of being a police officer is the honour of helping people in the worst times of their lives, providing support and reassurance when all is falling apart for them. Then the next minute, carrying out a schools visit and the children reduce you to laughter with their stories.

I moved with my partner to the Avon & Somerset area as a transferee sergeant to this force.

My current goals are to build on the good work of our LGBT liaison team and to lead us into the Top 100 of the Stonewall Equality Index, demonstrating to all our communities that our police force is always ready to help and assist them whatever their needs, background or experiences.

Sergeant Helen Riddell
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Grace Caple

The first female Chief Inspector of Bristol Police

In 1943, a young Grace Flower joined the Bristol Police Force (as it was called then). Her first pocket book records her first ever job, in which she went undercover to snare a rogue fortune teller.

Throughout her time in service, Grace was deployed onto the streets for VE Day in 1945. And the post-war years saw her patrolling Bristol city centre.

In 1950, she became a Substantive Sergeant, and three years later was awarded the Queen’s Coronation Medal. During her service, she also received a Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

But it wasn’t all work for Grace, as she even found time to perform in the force’s pantomime and sports day events.

By 1963, now married to Fred Caple, she had been promoted to Inspector. And in 1966, she became the first ever female Chief Inspector at Bristol Police.

After 25 years of service, Grace Caple retired in 1968. But the trail she blazed at Avon and Somerset Police left a legacy for women in her force and further afield.

Grace Caple
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