A police officer who says she has the “best job in the world” has urged other potential recruits from diverse backgrounds to follow her into a career in uniform.
Sergeant Andrea Brown joined Nottinghamshire Police as a Civilian Control Room Operator in 1999 after a chance encounter with an officer investigating the theft of a car from a hotel she was managing.
She remembered: “I was working at the hotel when the police came to investigate the theft of a car from the car park. I knew it was something I could do and started to think about joining.
“They weren’t recruiting at the time so I applied for a job as a civilian within the force control room”
Sergeant Brown’s career progressed and in 2009 she applied for a position as a police constable.
Speaking at the start of Black History Month, Sergeant Brown detailed her journey form the force control room to the front line of law-enforcement, and explained how a fundamental desire to help people in need continues to motivate her every day.
She said: “I never set out to join the police when I was younger – partly because I grew up with a very different impression of what being a police officer was all about.
“My parents were part of the original Windrush generation and eventually settled in Nottingham in the early 1960s. Things were very different back then and they had a very tough time from a lot of people – including the police.
“So, when I told them that I was joining up – yes, they were proud, but they were also fearful for me as well.
“They had that natural worry that all parents have but also worried that I would face additional difficulties because of the way I looked.
“I can honestly say that during my time in the police I have actually had very few negative experiences – and certainly none from within the organisation.”
Sergeant Brown worked as a PC in a response role for several years before joining CID and becoming a detective – a role in which she was involved in many complex investigations resulting in lengthy custodial sentences for a number of dangerous individuals.
She added: “I know I am biased but for me it really is the best job in the world. I have worked in response roles and I have been a detective and the thing I really love about the job is the ability it gives you to help other people.
“When people need our help it is because something bad has happened that needs fixing. I have always enjoyed trying to fix those problems and making things better for people when they need us most.
“It’s really something I never get tired of and the reason why I am so proud to be a cop. It is different every day and it can be so rewarding.
“That feeling when you get a result for a victim of crime and tell them that person who stole from them has been charged or locked up, is what motivates me on a daily basis.
“On the flip side the job can also be absolutely terrible at times – for example when having to deliver a death message to a loved on after a fatal road traffic collision has occurred. That is a situation nobody wants to be in, but you have to remember that that person also needs help and guidance in that moment and ultimately you are there to give them that support.
“I am always honest with people about the challenges of policing but ultimately I think success in this role is about what type of person you are and not what you look like or where you come from.
“You are either right for this role or you aren’t – and there is absolutely no shame in trying something and realising it’s not for them. But if you are right for this role then it absolutely is the best job in the world. I would urge anyone out there to give it a go – regardless of what background they come from.”
Sergeant Brown’s call to action comes at the start of Black History Month, which started today.
Nottinghamshire Police is championing the campaign under the theme ‘Proud To Be.’
The force continues to work closely with its community links and partners on both internal and external events, and will be highlighting stories and celebrating achievements throughout the month.
Ron Lawrence, who is the Apprenticeship Officer for Nottingham Police and who is supporting on recruitment for the police service, encouraging representation from our underrepresented groups, said: “Nottinghamshire Police is committed to working towards being a service that is reflective of the communities it serves.
“We are also proactive in engaging with the community through a wide range of activities as well as employment opportunities that are now currently available.
“We are encouraging everyone to get involved with BHM celebrations, and I hope that everyone embraces the opportunity to learn more about black culture throughout October.”
Nottinghamshire Police is committed to becoming more representative of the community it serves and offers a number of entry routes into the Police Service.
To find out more about a career in the police, either and an officer or staff member, please visit www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/careers