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Paul Garrad

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I chose to work in Bedfordshire because it is the county I grew up in. I know the area and wanted to give back to the community that meant something to me. I also saw policing as a career with lots of opportunities and one something I could stay in for my whole working life and be proud of when I retire.

I had friends say Bedfordshire Police it was a great place to work. It’s a small force where you can get to know people really well and it becomes like your second family. Many of the senior officers know the lower ranking officers by name and just feels like a very close knit, friendly force.

The list of opportunities available within Bedfordshire are huge. It is great to know I can have a massively varied career as a police officer and still work within the same organisation. That is something quite unique to policing.

It sounds like a cliché but, I have always been interested in joining policing since an early age, and it was always something I felt I would like to do as a career. But it was much more than that. Being able to give back to the community, keeping vulnerable people safe, saving lives, being a role model for others and catching and locking up the baddies are just a few of the highlights for me.

The best part about the police officer role is every day is different. Each shift could see you attend calls ranging from domestic incidents, shoplifting and criminal damage, burglaries, public order and road traffic collisions, and that is just scratching the surface.

You see some really horrible sights and have to deal with some quite nasty people, but on the plus side you are protecting vulnerable people, sometimes children, from some really nasty characters, which in itself is hugely rewarding. Arresting criminals and knowing that the victim is safe is a great feeling.

You can get quite a bit of abuse from some people and sometimes need to have a thick skin and ignore it, because they are actually aiming it at the uniform.

Having a great team around you really helps through the tough moments. You may have had a bad day or set of shifts, but the job is so unpredictable, that’s what makes it so good and you know that awesome job is just around the corner.

I have had so many favourite moments in my career so far. I have saved people’s lives, protected some very vulnerable people from some terrible crimes and hopefully made a difference for the better in a lot of victims’ lives. I have been in some police chases and because I am a licensed search officer I have been involved in some big jobs like murders, which is really interesting and you feel like you are contributing to a really important case. 

Before I joined the police, I worked in a warehouse for 10 years. I applied to join Bedfordshire Police when I was 18 or 19 but was unsuccessful and told I needed more life experience. So, I went away and worked in other places, gaining skills and experience both in work and my personal life and re-applied. I joined the force in April 2014, and finished my classroom-based training and started my first shift out onto response or ’on the beat’ a few months later.

I had a lot of skills needed to make a great police officer before going into this role, like being a team player, great communication, organised, an eye for detail.  But I feel I have enhanced what I already had and so much more on top since joining. I am more confident in my own actions, more decisive and resilient. My communication skills have improved and my personal safety training has taught me some new things too. I have also trained as a licensed search officer and am hoping to be on a negotiator course soon.

As a student officer I had support from my tutor and my sergeants. Those that helped me still look out for me today, along with my team and the other officers in my cohort. Since then I have got to know people from many different departments and ranks and can say that all would help and support me if I asked.

My tutor is one of my closest friends and that just shows the type of people you will work with and the family you become.

After six years as a response officer I am now part of the recruitment team and joined because I wanted to try something new. Joining the recruitment team means I still interact with the public as well as telling potential candidates how great a role in policing is, especially within Bedfordshire. I also support new applicants through the application process and hopefully see some of them join and become great officers.

When I transitioned into my new role I was helped by a member of the team. They showed me what I needed to know and were very helpful. Since then I have been learning more things as I go and have been able to make the role my own. There are always people around willing to give any advice or guidance I need.

With the Government uplift of 20,000 new police officers throughout the UK, I will be busy working in the recruitment team for the next few years. But maybe I will look to take my sergeants exam or move into another department and learn a new skill. Who knows what the future will bring, that’s the beauty of a career in policing!

Policing has affected my personal life in both a positive and negative way. I can’t always make those special family occasions like Christmas and birthdays, I might get home late and miss the children’s bedtime or change plans with friends at the last minute. Sometimes if I have seen or dealt with something horrible, I may go home and be very quiet and distant.

All these things affect me, my family and friends but I have their support and they understand what I signed up for.

With that being said, I am a role model to my children and my friends and family are proud of what I do. I have made friends through the role that will be friends for life. I also know I have changed people’s lives for the better, saved lives and hopefully shown Bedfordshire Police in a good light.

Support is important throughout anyone’s policing career. 

If you have ever had even the slightest thought of joining the police, I would say apply. You will not regret it. Don’t be that person that in a few years’ time is sat there thinking ‘what if?’ It is a great career, with many opportunities, you will make lifelong friends and gain a huge extended family!

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We are currently recruiting police officers. If you would like to find out more and apply for the role please visit out police officer careers page.

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