Listen to DC Alex Steele speak about her experiences as a detective with Northamptonshire Police.
My name's Alex Steele. I am currently a Detective within the Child Abuse Investigation Unit. I am 28 years old, I joined the police just when I turned 21. I did a degree at Northants University and joined Northants Police pretty much straight away after that and then I never really looked back since.
In my spare time, it probably sounds a little bit boring but, I like going to the gym, I like fitness, health and exercise, so I go to the gym quite a lot, get out on bike rides and things.
I think I decided at quite a young age that I wanted to do, at least something, in the public services area. I really like helping people. I think the usual worries that I expect family members of police officers have that are you going to get hurt, is it going to be dangerous, are you going to deal with things that you might not be able to cope with either physically or mentally because until you go to that job you don't know how you're going to react, and you don't know what's going to happen next so I think I was a bit apprehensive. We get all the training for defensive tactics and all that so you're well prepared, it's just how you deal with it at the time, but I think that was probably my biggest worry.
There was one case when I first joined Child Protection. There was two sisters who had been sexually abused by their dad. So I met with them and went through all the process. Obviously they were really upset, their mum had no idea because the disclosure was made at school so I had to sit down and tell the mum this is what they've said, which is obviously extremely hard on her going through all that. So I offered as much support as I could with all the family, did the interviews with the girls, interviewed the suspect, got the case to a place where it was ready to go, there was really great evidence and I got a phone call, I think I was on a rest day, I was at home and I got a phone call from my Sergeant and she said that the suspect in the case had killed himself. Which was hard for me one, because I kind of thought immediately 'is it something that I've done?' The backlash that that then had on the family, and especially the 10 year old girl, because then the 10 year old girl was going through the same feelings that I was saying 'this is my fault' and I had to sit down with the family and I think I was there for about three or four hours just talking about, obviously I couldn't give a reason as to why it happened, but just making sure that they were ok and just helping them get back on their feet.
I think that was quite hard, especially as it was one of my first cases in Child Protection. But I think it's part of life sometimes, these things will happen. Definitely something that opened my eyes to the sort of stuff that we can deal with and things that go on in normal daily life that you don't really think about, especially being, like I said it was one of my first cases in Child Protection, I came away from it like ok this is the sort of level of stuff that I'm going to have to get used to so it prepared me straight away for what I might have to deal with and the kind of things that could happen.
I don't think individual jobs have changed me as a person but I think being a police officer as a whole has changed me as a person. It's definitely taught me to be more resilient to things.
I think for me the main thing is knowing that I'm having a positive impact on someone else's life, I'm helping someone. At the end of the day I can go home knowing that I've helped someone even in the smallest way possible and hopefully made a difference to their life.