Listen to DI Becky Simmons speak about her experiences as a detective with Northamptonshire Police.
My name's Becky Simmons, I'm a Detective Inspector on the SOLAR team for the north of the county. I've been in the job for 18 years now.
So, before I joined the police, I left school at 16, went to college for a bit and then dropped out. I first wanted to join policing, well I'd always wanted to join, my dad was a police officer and so I'd always kind of a had a bit of an interest, and all through school that's all I'd ever wanted to do. I just wanted to join the police, and I guess follow in his footsteps really.
There are a lot of stereotypes around being a woman, especially in policing about what kind of woman you need to be that could put people off but obviously, I've grown up in the police, I joined at 21, I now have a family and I'm married and looking back that can be a barrier for people, but actually it's not. Policing has evolved and changed so much that having a family, working part time, as I do, it's not a blocker, it's not a blocker to moving on to getting promoted or doing things that you want to do.
Northamptonshire for me, it's personal. I grew up in Northampton, my family are from here, my children are being raised here, it's personal to me. My mum is as mum's are, she's very proud. My dad initially didn't want me to join the police, it had changed so much that he thought that it wouldn't be something that I'd like to do. He couldn't be more wrong, I've loved it, I've thrived being a police officer, I've really enjoyed it, it's kind of made me who I am. It's built up my confidence. My friends and family I've met through the job.
Being a detective is, it's different because you are responsible for that crime but ultimately it's your investigation, you're in charge of it, and you're in charge of what happens with it, what route it takes. But if you put time and effort in and you find that little nugget within that investigation that is the game-changer that means we found the evidence that we need to get that job to court, to get a result for the victim, that's priceless and that's all down to you, that's you, you're responsible for that and that's a real nice feeling. The fact that you can then get that job home, get that case through court and provide that service and that justice for that victim is a brilliant feeling. You make your own luck. The harder you work the more likely you are to get a good result.
When you're dealing with an investigation it's really important to keep the way that you're feeling separate, and sometimes that's hard but you remember that this isn't happening to you. You're the person that's the cavalry, the person that they've come to for help. When you're dealing with a baby death and a post mortem, as a mother you can't help but relate your own experiences to that and see your own child at that age when you're watching something like that. That's really hard. Sorry. You separate it because it's not you it's not happening to you and you have to be able to box it off and separate it off. It's not happening to you and that's the way I've always been. I almost build a wall up, this is work, this is what's happening over here, and this is my life and they are separate but you do every now and again get those lines where they cross particularly when you're dealing with children. If you've got a job involving a child and your child is the same age you cannot help but almost think of your child in a similar situation but then they won't be because they're safe and they're at home. I'm not sure how or why you're just able to separate it. We're all humans and our life is ongoing outside of work and whether it's doing the shopping and paying the bills, we're just normal regular people with an extraordinary job.
If you're thinking about becoming a detective, do it. What have you got to lose? If you're not sure, just try it, and if you don't like it, you'll have only taken good from it. You'll have grown as a person, you'll have gained new experiences that you can then take on into life and whatever you choose to do next. If you're thinking about it, try it.