I’m Anjalee; I joined in January 2017 after working for an organisation that diverted young people away from the criminal justice system. My role at Avon & Somerset involves researching police cases where there are learning opportunities to improve the Force’s practice in protecting vulnerable people from harm. My previous experiences before joining the police are beneficial to my day to day job.
"I've been shown respect and recognition for hard work and my opinions are always considered, which makes me feel valued."
I'm Ayesha, I finished my psychology degree in 2004 and saw an advert for Avon and Somerset police and decided to go for it.
I always wanted to be a detective so I took steps to achieve this and I have been lucky enough to work in a number of really good departments including Safeguarding, Investigations, Bluestone and Intelligence.
Being a police officer is fun, exciting, and often challenging sad and sometimes overwhelming but seeing the difference that you can make to a person - you really cannot beat that feeling and I can't imagine doing anything else.
"International Women's Day is a really important event, I was lucky enough to be raised by a truly inspirational woman who overcame so much to raise me as a strong confident woman."
It's important on this day that we don't forget how far we have come but also how far we have to go to realise true equality.
I’m Carol. I joined 3 years after I’d moved away from all my family in Ireland. I was in my 20s and I remember feeling terrified about what was ahead of me, knowing that I was a woman going into a male dominated job made me even more anxious. Luckily I was one of about five female officers in my team, so I had a great support network and I’ve made some really good friends too.
Saving someone’s life has to be the highlight of my career, knowing if I hadn’t reacted as I did that person wouldn’t be alive today is an amazing feeling, pretty hard to sum up in words.
"My overall experience of having a baby whilst on Firearms was amazing; I had total support and was even allowed to come in on my maternity leave to take part in Firearms Training."
I’m Jo and I joined just over 2 years ago.
When I applied for the job it didn’t really occur to me that I was a woman, or that being a woman might have an impact on the outcome of my application.
It’s no different being a woman in this role. You all get the same training; you all get the same equipment and you all do the same job. In the Communications department gender doesn’t have and shouldn’t have any bearing on the job that you do.
There’s a decent mixture of men and women working in the Communications team, with a lot more women applying for Response jobs and senior roles. All my experiences with the police have been positive and I would encourage anyone to join us.
I’m Josie and I first joined the police as a Special Constable in 2015. There’s a lot of opportunity to move around so I decided to go for a Call Handler role.
I’ve been doing the role now for about 18 months now and I love it. You take on range of roles being a call handler and you never really know what you’re going to get when you take a call. You’re given a really high level of training here, with extra opportunities to train further if needed.
I know a lot of women who worry about the best time to start a family might be, but that’s not something you need to be concerned about here. One of my best friends, who happens to be my colleague, just went on leave after having a baby, everyone has been really supportive and she already has a plan on what she wants to do when she comes back.
"Our team is so close, we spend a lot of time together and we're like one big family."
I’m Katy; I’m one of two women who look after Rural Crime for the force. I joined almost 15 years ago and had no concerns about being a women and joining the police. I never felt like it would be an issue and from experience I’ve never been made to feel any different amongst colleagues.
I remember being on shift with another female officer a few years ago, we were the first people arriving on the scene of a domestic incident where an adult son was causing damage to his parents’ house. His father answered the door and said “Oh two females.” After a brief altercation outside we had the son restrained and cuffed on the driveway, long before our male colleagues turned up. My parting phrase was “never underestimate a woman.”
I’m Maureen; at the time I joined the police they were doing a huge recruitment drive to get women from ethnic minorities to join and the Force is still continuing to do that now. I had reservations, but only because of silly stereotypical things you see and hear which I actually found never to be true.
People think you need to be thick skinned as a woman officer. I am a very emotional and I’ve cried at work. I’m not ashamed to say I’m in touch with my emotions - I think it’s important. You need to be empathetic to do well in this job.
I remember friends and family asking whether I would be on patrol with a man for safety, this just isn’t true at all and most women in police would tell you the same. For most of my days in uniform I was solo crewed, obviously you need to risk assess before going into a situation but that would apply to both men and women.
"Colleagues respect me and the opinions I bring to the role."
I’m Maz. I joined the policed before becoming a mother. On my first day I was given a handbag and skirt as part of uniform. I did my fair share of sitting with young children, even though I wasn’t a mother at the time and there were male officers on the team who had children of their own.
Luckily things have changed since then and my experiences as a PC have been really good. I’ve been able to work in so many different departments and no two days are the same, so you get such a huge range of variety. What I love most about my job is to be given to opportunity to help others and help my community.
"As a woman students are a lot more open to approaching me despite being in uniform. My work in schools is really rewarding."
I’m Nikki. I’ve seen some big changes across the force in the 30 years I’ve been a part of Avon & Somerset police, the biggest changes I’ve seen has been in technology. When I joined we only had radios, we didn’t have mobile phones and it’s really improved the way we work, we can be more efficient providing the public with the best service we can offer.
Having come from a very secure and supportive family I was pretty oblivious to the differences in the way that women and men can be treated. It became a lot more noticeable to me about a year into my job with the police; I was meeting university friends who had become lawyers and social workers. Their experiences as women were very different to mine, they were worried about when to get married and have children. It’s not really something I’ve had to worry about, having become a mother myself while working here I was fully supported. Being a mother didn’t stop me progressing to Assistant Chief Constable and I would encourage more women looking for a balance with careers and family life to join emergency services.
"We need people from all walks of life to bring their own experiences and ideas to the job so that we can represent the communities we serve.”
I’m Sallie. I’ve been working in the team for about four months now and I’m really enjoying it. I used to work for a company that supports people with disabilities by providing them with access to the scheme offered. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to join the police and my family and boyfriend all supported me in my pursuit for this job.
My role involves me working directly with offenders; this includes drivers who have been caught speeding or jumping red lights. My job may not be front line but my work is important in ensuring that people abide by the speed laws, which helps keep our roads and communities safe. Anyone thinking of joining should definitely look at the roles on offer, there’s a range of places you can work and you’re encouraged to move around.
I’m Sarah. When I joined the force 20 years ago I was told all kinds of stories about women having to leave when they were married and starting a family. Luckily things have changed for the better and we’ve come a long way since then.
It’s really important that women never underestimate themselves as you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. Avon and Somerset police welcomes people from all walks of life and need more staff with a breadth of life experience to ensure we best represent the communities we service.
I’m Sarah. I joined the police in 2014. I feel privileged to do the job I do and I love coming to work. I’ve had a few different roles in my time including being a part of the Response team, which I loved.
Becoming a part of the police wasn’t the easiest thing for me as a single mother of two. I took a pay cut and had to take on a second job to make ends meet and I’ve never regretted that decision once. I am fortunate enough to have established a really good support network now, which I am eternally grateful for as I have never had to consider flexible working as a result. At Avon and Somerset I have received nothing but encouragement from my line managers, who always made it clear that if I had any family issues I could approach them for support.
I have recently had the opportunity to undertake a Temporary Sergeant’s post which has been of enormous value. I have learned an awful lot and met some wonderful new colleagues. It’s been a hugely worthwhile experience for me. Policing has changed and there is room for all walks of life and experience. Joining was one of the best decisions I have ever made with my life and I’d thoroughly recommend it.
"I am a very ordinary mother of two, who is proof that anyone of any gender from any background can join the police and make a difference."