I am Hannah Billing. I am a police officer with Northants Police. I always wanted to be a police officer from a very young age. I joined Northants Police from completing the BA Honours policing course at the University of Northampton which processed me from a special constable right through to a police officer being paid full time to do the role.
I think it was just from a very young age it was just in my veins to be a police officer. I think from, as soon as I knew what a police officer was, I was like ‘yeah, that's me, that's what I want to do’. I did use to work in response in Wellingborough, obviously where I'd just come in and the control room would speak to us and send us to jobs. We might be dealing with domestic incidents, road traffic collisions, any incidents where the public needs our help, obviously responding on 999. But now I work in the Force Investigation Team where we deal with prisoners that are brought in, that have just been arrested by our response teams, where we will then interview them and process them through and get charging decisions and take them to court.
I can't remember my first day, but I can remember my first arrest. It was very nerve-racking. As far as I was aware I got everything spot on, but then when I went back and reviewed it, I was like ‘oh God I made them slight mistakes’ but obviously you learn from it and now I feel like I can make a quite good arrest. It was scary and obviously you've got all your colleagues around you that are there to help but because you're new, you feel you do feel quite like ‘oh I can't get this wrong’ but you've just got to remember that the support is there and you're going to be fine. My friends and family do worry but like I say, I think they just take each day as it comes. I'll come home and I'll speak to them about what I've been to and they're kind of like ‘ok are you alright?’ and I’m like ‘yeah I’m fine’ like just try and relax like what will be will be this is my job and that what I want to do, and I think they’re just proud of me.
I was always determined to get to that goal, regardless of anything that got in my way, but I wouldn’t say I had the easiest of journeys. I had a lot of friends that turned against me from school and that, they didn’t want me to be a police officer, and with that general stigma and I did experience some bullying and stuff like that, but I managed to just bypass that and get over it. I just think that's my goal, I want to be a police officer and nothing’s going to get in the way of that. I think it's just the general public perception really of the police that they think we’re out there to just annoy people or, you know, not act in the public’s interest but we are, we’re there to help and I want people to see that side of the job.
Initially it kind of took me back, I got knocked back by them thinking that, you know, she shouldn’t be in the police and stuff but with the support of my friends and family they were like ‘this is what you want to do, don’t let it affect you’. So, I acted more positively than negatively to the response I had. Obviously, I’ve always been determined and driven to get to it, but it pushed me even more. Looking back on myself, I obviously had 101 knock backs where I thought this isn’t for me, but I think you’ve just got to look at yourself as an individual and if you see yourself doing that job in 10 years time, 20 years time then I think you should just go for it. I don’t think anyone would regret it, it’s a really, really rewarding yet challenging job.
My setbacks, obviously with my bullying and stuff that I experienced in school, it did make me think like ‘oh I can’t be a police officer, people are just going to judge me’ and stuff like that or they'd just put me down and make me feel really bad about myself and that I wasn’t capable of being a police officer. It did knock me back a bit in terms of just going home to my parents and saying ‘I can’t do this anymore, I’m not going to college to study public services, I can’t go to university and study policing’. It was the support from them, and my close friends as well, that just pushed me to go for it and then once I made that step I was like ‘yeah I can do this’. I’d say my experiences have shaped me as a person and, if anything, I’m kind of grateful that that’s how it’s happened because if it wasn’t for that bullying or my experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today.