Today Inspector Melissa Gilmour from East Area BCU talks about her role as a police officer and being a mum.
What made you want to become a police officer?
I have been a police officer almost 29 years. I joined two days after my last A-level exam at school I couldn’t wait!
I always wanted to join to help people and I saw it as an exciting career that didn’t involve sitting behind a desk. I have always enjoyed being outside and the Police ticked all the boxes.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am currently working as an Inspector in Neighbourhood Policing and lead the Partnership & Prevention team. As the title suggests, we work closely with our Local Authorities and partners across the Command Unit which includes Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham, to tackle anti-social behaviour [ASB].
By working together we tackle ASB, and those involved in it, at the locations where it is at its worst, where it’s really effecting people.
I also lead our engagement team who work closely with local faith groups and LGBT+ communities tackling hate crime.
Lastly, I co-ordinate our recruitment team and the engagement that we take part in across all three boroughs within our command unit.
Career highlights – what has really impacted you or is particularly memorable? Is there something you are particularly proud of?
I worked in Havering as a PC from 2008-2015. During that time I set up the Junior Citizen Scheme which aimed to prepare Year Six students for the transition to secondary school and the increased independence that goes with it.
The scheme still runs today and I am really proud of all the students who have been part or the scheme since it launched. It really did make a difference and still benefit our youngsters to this day.
What skills have you learned during your service [any that you particularly enjoy or find interesting and why]
I have always been a chatterbox, which is a useful skill when you are wanting to engage with people but I have also become much better at listening to people.
Many victims of crime want to talk to you and tell you how they are feeling so it is important that we take time to listen too.
I have also completed advanced driving and public order training. These are not skills that I use in my current role, but completing the courses did increase my confidence which helps me to better achieve my professional goals and to conduct my day to day duties.
A bit about you, are you a parent, do you have any hobbies [basically who are you when you aren’t on duty?] – favourite movie/favourite band.
Outside of work I am a married mum to three fabulous kids and a husband who is also a serving officer so he is very supportive and understanding of the role I have.
I am a keen runner and huge ‘Greys Anatomy’fan. I am quite happy to watch repeats again and again!
We have a crazy cocker spaniel dog so we enjoy walking him as he never seems to run out of energy!
Why you think other people should consider a career in the Met?
Although I am approaching the end of my career I can honestly say that it has absolutely flown by!
I joined as a 19-year-old thinking that 30 years was more than a lifetime away and would never come around, but here I am.
The opportunities that are open to you are endless, whether you chose to work toward promotion or become specialised in a particular role. Career paths that provide such a wide range of choices are few and far between.
There is also far more support available to staff today when applying for different roles and more scope for flexible working to make the balance between work and home life possible for everyone.
We are a service made up of dozens of cultures and lifestyles and there are staff associations and support services in place to ensure that we are all able to work as part of a team that makes the most of our differences, while being supported in the way that we need, if, or when, we need it.
Taking the decision to become a police officer is one that I will never regret that has given me 29 years of memories that I will never forget, if you think that policing is for you, I say go for it.
Link to the direct entry Detective recruitment scheme. https://www.met.police.uk/news/met/met-launches-new-detective-recruitment-campaign/