I joined in November 2001 and had applied for West Yorkshire Police and I got to my final interview, but then I went on holiday and I met my now wife. My wife lived in Northamptonshire and, therefore, I moved down here and joined the force. Policing has always been part of me ever since I was a child. I'm very fortunate that I feel that I've done the job that I've always wanted to do. Do we come in every day to do the best service that we can for the victims and the community we serve? That's what I do every day. I've never changed it in 18 years. Processes and things have changed around me, but crime is crime, people are people and as long as we treat people with respect and we treat them, you know my mum once said 'treat people how you'd like to be treated yourself'.
My first arrest was for criminal damage to a motor vehicle. The individual was quite violent and so for my first arrest I ended up drawing batons, I had to handcuff the individual and place him in the back of the police vehicle and it was that point that a bit of realism dawned in that is what every arrest is going to be like and I probably had a little bit of a baptism of fire really, but what it did teach me is, again, how, probably, you speak to people really helps. By speaking to them calmly and in a professional way and actually having a bit of a laugh and banter with people, I know that's hard sometimes because not everybody's the same. However, in that instance, it really helped me and it got to the point where at the end of my interview, he shook my hand and said ‘I'm really sorry for how I behaved’. So, I think that was my first lesson in terms of speaking freely, openly.
I grew up in a council estate in Leeds. You know, I didn't have a privileged background, I didn't have some things, you know, that other children had so it made me value, more so, my family and my home life. Probably the incident, which is more serious and more impacted on me personally is, I was Deputy Senior Investigating Officer for the murders in Wootton. A Chinese family of four were murdered. I had to be the first person, or one of the first people in the house. So, some of the imagery and scenes that I saw in there still live with me to this day. I think what it made me was more determined in terms of catching the offender. As we know we did do that. He's currently serving 40 years in prison. I had the upmost honour and privilege of meeting that family of the bereaved and deceased and they couldn't be so thankful and the SIO at the time was Sherlock Holmes and I was Dr. Watson because that was how they related to British crime and detectives and if you think borders are a barrier, they're not, because we will go that extra mile to get people in. I won't lie to you, it was difficult. I was upset by what I'd seen. However, you compartmentalise it putting all your efforts into catching the perpetrator of that offence which is what we did.
I've been really lucky that in my career, I've had some really good mentors and almost father and mother figures that I've been able to look up and when I've had those difficult decisions or have come to a crossroads in a decision that I need to make, I've been able to ask those people for help and advice and support. This job is the best job in the world. I feel really fortunate to come into work every day and I genuinely mean that, I'm not just saying it because I'm on camera. I work with some fantastic people everyday and this is like my second family. I think unless you've experienced the force's approach before, you probably won't get it because you go through quite a lot together. So, you go through the emotion together, you turn up at jobs where people will offer you physical violence and let’s be fair, that's increased. Am I scared of it? Not really, and I'm not because I work with great people. In fact, our gangs bigger than any gang in this county. So, you know, it may be a bit one-upmanship at some time or another and it happened to me over my career. Do I let it get me down? No, because I know that we are fighting for the right things and that will always get to the right conclusion. It just sometimes needs working through. I think, we welcome everybody and all I can say is that throughout my career, I'm a northern lad, everybody's accepted me. I'm an outsider but I've had the upmost support and I've really enjoyed my time and long may it continue.
We help victims, we help communities, I help my colleagues. My grandma is 94 now. She's immensely proud. She sees me on social media, she goes on Facebook and things so when she sees me on there, she thinks I'm sort of a star, I'm not. I genuinely mean that. I'm just doing my job. If people think we live in a bad place, we don't. Northamptonshire's a really safe place and I can say that coming from other areas, you know, we live in a really, really safe place. There's a minority that spoil it for the majority.
I wouldn't change anything. I wouldn't change anything. I love the force. I think we're really going places now and moving forward. I love the people I work with. I think I've got the best job in the force but I'm sure everybody you interview will say that. I love doing what I do. I come into work everyday with a smile on my face. I tend to go home everyday with a smile on my face. I can sometimes get grumpy but I'm not known for it. There's a load of people out there who are out to get us anyway, so it starts at home and my home is the police force and if we get that right and work together then actually the job outside is a lot easier.