A police response officer has lifted the lid on the “many challenges” of the job but how saving a woman’s life convinced her she had chosen the right career.
PC Emily Clayton joined Notts Police in 2018 and is currently based at Jubilee House in Arnold, where she and her Rota 1 colleagues provide a frontline response to a wide range of incidents.
Often these include complex and sometimes confrontational situations – and handling the different situations that arise on an hourly basis is far from easy.
“There are many challenges on Response,” explained PC Clayton, a former county council youth worker and Police Federation representative.
“You have to adapt from one incident to another in what can be a short space of time. One minute you can be attending a sudden death and then suddenly be moving onto a violent incident, closely followed by a concern for safety incident such as a suicide risk.”
Each incident comes with forms and paperwork and there’s a need to manage the workload. Demand is high and PC Clayton – who became a cop through the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme – admits the role is far from easy.
However, any doubts she had chosen the wrong career are regularly quashed when she’s called to incidents that involve helping people in their hour of need.
“I attended an incident recently whereby a woman failed to turn up to meet her friends at a place they meet at the same time each week. I conducted all relevant enquiries to try and contact this female to ensure that she was safe and well, but to no avail.
“I then had the grounds to enter her home address, where I found her struggling to breathe in her living room. I conducted first aid and called for an ambulance, which arrived within minutes.
“The woman was taken to hospital and admitted for a period of time – but was back home for Christmas.
“I’ve no doubt that had I not forced entry at this time, the woman would have lost her life.
“It’s just one example of how we can make a difference, whether that be upholding the law or saving lives.”
PC Clayton is among a number of colleagues who have joined Nottinghamshire Police in recent years who are sharing their experiences to highlight the challenges and rewarding aspects of the job.
Here are some snippets from what others had to say:
- PC Juliana Gourlay – Radford Road MIT team. Joined as a police emergency call handler before becoming a cop through the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme in October 2020:
I once got a letter from a male who we attended when he was suicidal. I took the time to speak with him and we played with his very cute dog and eventually, I convinced him to go with the ambulance crew and get medical help. The letter stated that he was really grateful to me and my colleague and that he was glad we helped as things had really improved for him and he was loving life again.
Receiving that letter was extremely rewarding and was a reminder of why I became a police officer.
- PC Tom Rickett – Response officer, Hucknall. Joined in November 2019 via the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP):
The challenges on a weekly basis are the constantly high demand of incidents that come into Ashfield and managing a workload at the same time. I’m confident that this is something that most officers also feel the pressure of at present. I do however feel lucky in the sense that when it comes to tackling live incidents my team come together to ensure that we all support one another to get the job completed in an efficient manner, giving positive results for both the officer and any victim involved.
The tough days on duty are wholly rewarded when you put so much effort into achieving positive results for the victims and ensuring that they receive the best possible support from us. I have been on the receiving end of positive feedback when the research team have contacted victims and they have stated that they are happy with the way that I have dealt with incidents and the support that they got from me. For all the abuse that we receive as police officers, it is in moments like this that we are reminded that people do appreciate just even the smallest aspects of what we do.
- PC Harminder Rai-Mottram – Response officer, Broxtowe Police Station. Joined in February 2021 via the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) route:
The main challenge so far has been juggling assignments and working on completing case files for critical jobs, as well as meeting the daily demands on shift and having a happy home life. Sometimes it is easy to forget your general well-being and give yourself some personal time. Although I haven’t had any doubts about the job, there have been days when I have felt drained, trying to juggle everything. But then I overcome these when tasks and deadlines are met.
I receive the utmost support from my response sergeant, training school management and colleagues. Whenever I require any support or need guidance, I am confident I can turn to any of those around me to guide me.
It’s important to always remember why you became a police officer. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do the best job in the world.
- PC Charlotte Brooks – joined Notts Police in 2017 as an emergency call handler and became a police officer in 2019 via the Initial Police Learning and Development Programme (IPLDP):
There have undoubtedly been days that have been emotionally and mentally draining.
Colleagues really make the difference when dealing with tough shifts, the comradery and team effort on a daily basis means you know that you are not on your own when jobs are called in. Knowing you can rely on their backing and skill set makes it easier to provide the service we need to for the community in an effective manner.
Ultimately every contact leaves a trace and it can be in such a positive way. The variety that this job offers, not just on the front line is not seen in a lot of careers and it is a job that gets you thinking on your feet and makes a real difference to local communities in so many ways.