I’m Kritesh Patel, I’ve just joined Northants Police ten weeks ago. I’ve just come out on response in my training and I’m learning to be a police officer.
So, my day consists of, I come into work depending on what shift I’m on, if it’s earlys, days or nights. You come in, kit up, get your radio in, hopefully get your laptop out, get ready to check your emails, go in to a briefing. That doesn’t always happen. You can get tipped out to a job at any point. You can walk in at quarter to the hour and get a call come in and say there’s something coming in. It’s not a job where you start on the hour and you finish on the hour, the job’s live. So, my first shift I started on nights, and it was my first ever experience of policing. So, I met my tutor and we had a quick chat, and we got tipped out to a job about 15 minutes afterwards. Got into a car, it was a call of disruption in the street. I got in the car, he turned the blue lights on, put his foot down and flew to the job which was an experience for me. So, we resolved that and we moved on. Hearing the first job come in my tutor was like this is us, we're going, let’s jump in the car. So, we got in the car and everything went through my head. Didn't know what I was walking into, didn’t know what was going to happen. Is there going to be a massive fight in the street? Is it going to be nothing? What am I going to do when I get there? Because this is genuinely my first experience of policing and every emotion went through my head from excitement to hearing sirens and going at speed to genuine fear because you don't know what’s going to happen, and I just said to myself ‘let’s just get there, see what happens’ and in the end, it turned out fine and that panic wasn’t needed.
I used to work in retail and a glass ceiling arrived for my progression at that company and a good friend of mine had just joined the police in a different force. He said to me ‘this would be for you. I’m loving it, apply, you’ll love it’. I said fine I’ll take your word for it and thought I’ll consider it. So, I sat for a few days, and for them few days when I was thinking about it, everywhere I looked there were Northants Police signs saying to join, we're hiring. Outside the coffee shop, on Facebook and I was like ‘do you know what? I’m going to have to do this, I’m just going to apply and see what happens’. When I told my family they were a bit concerned, partly due to the fact of the job I’m going into because it’s obviously a job that comes with high risk. Then a lot of family were sort of like ‘why? Why do you want to join the police? What’s in it for you? That’s not a job we expect from you. Go be a lawyer, go be a doctor’. Family back home in India were very concerned because obviously policing out there is a whole different world. They don’t appreciate what we do here. Family here were shocked and surprised when I said I’m applying, but I said this is for me. I appreciate the concern, the worry and everything else from people but I’m going to do this for me. If it’s not for me, I get here do ten weeks and don’t like it, I can say I’ve done it. I didn’t want to get two years down the line and go I could have joined, I should have joined so I thought I’d take that risk, take that plunge - here I am. So, I thought that’s the route I’m going to take, so I did that for myself and then to take the pressure off mum as well to say ‘look I want to do it’. Initially she was like ‘no’. She’s told me from the start that she’s really proud of my mate for doing it and really happy for him and then she was a bit like ‘oh I’m not sure if I want you do it’ and I was like ‘no you can’t have it both ways. If he’s doing it and you’re happy for him, I’m going to do it and you'll be happy for me’ and once she got over the initial shock she’s obviously really proud and happy. She’s bragging to everybody about it now but that initial fear from her, which I guess every mum’s going to have, doesn’t matter how long I’m in the job I’m still going to be her son. I’ve said I’m going to do this for me and if it isn’t for me, like I said earlier, I can leave, and I’ve tried it and done it. My family back in India aren’t really sure. Like I said, the job is different here to it is there. From an Indian policing point of view, you get your baton out, you hit people and that’s the way policing works out there. Here, it’s a whole different world. I think there it’s more deal with the situation first, ask questions later, whereas here it’s the complete opposite way around you know, you arrive at the job, you ask the questions, you deal with what you got so I think they don’t appreciate how policing works in the western world let’s say. So, they’re a lot more apprehensive, they’re a lot more worried than I am because of the violent side of things. So, I don’t think they’ll ever fully appreciate what I do as a job here, but I understand, I understand where their worries and their concerns are.
The best part of this job is just every day is fun, new, different. I don’t think you can do the job if you’re not willing to come in and just commit to whatever you’ve got. Yeah, if I could do this again, I’d do the whole process again. Yeah, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d happily apply again, I’d happily do the 17 weeks of training, do my ten weeks again and I’d happily tell other people to do it. If they think this is for them, do it. Try it. I wouldn’t tell anybody not to do it at all, I’ve told my sisters to apply. If there are the pressures from peoples’ families, there’s open days here at Wootton, come to one of them. Chat to officers, chat to the sergeants and they’ll answer the questions. If you’re thinking of doing it, do it. Don't hold back. Apply, if you get through every stage of the way, you get to training and realise it’s not for you, you can hold your head up and say I tried it. Don’t get to the point where in two or three years’ time you can sit there going ‘oh I should have applied, maybe I could be a police officer by now’. That should have, would have, could have idea, don’t allow yourself to get drawn into that. If the chance is there, take it with both hands, I think.