Much of my life has revolved around being a member of the wider policing family.
My father was a police officer, I became one, as did my youngest brother. I married a policeman’s daughter and she has worked in the police for over 30 years. That kind of close relationship with the police service is far from unique, in fact it used to be the norm.
Unfortunately, on a regular basis I now hear serving and retired officers advising anybody thinking of joining the police, especially a close relative, to think long and hard before taking that step. It’s not the job it used to be, the dangers are far greater, the scrutiny more intense, the work is far harder, the pay is worse and respect from the public is far from guaranteed.
Having said that, Lancashire police will be inundated with thousands of job applications as a result of their latest new and improved recruitment process.
I would recommend that any prospective candidate should look closely at the faces of murdered PC David Philips, wife and children as they placed flowers at the scene of his killing to gain a proper understanding of what becoming a police officer can actually mean. Policing is a profession and a dedication to public duty that involves a commitment by your family, as well as yourself, and is not for the light-hearted.
However, it still is a fantastic career and a worthwhile and important job. I recently went to the Lancashire police open day and, despite the obvious impact of the cuts, it was an impressive event.
A few years ago there would have been more horses on display and even the helicopter may have made an appearance.
What I noticed was the changing face of the policing family, it now consists of far more specials, volunteers and a much greater reliance on partner agencies.
Anybody who is critical of the police holding such an event, in my opinion, is completely wrong.
Over 20,000 people were able to see the different facets of policing, including major crime and collision investigation, forensic work and the latest array of police equipment.
All the kids appeared to have great time, especially as they were allowed to play with the two-tone horns in the police cars!
The event made me feel proud to have been part of the policing family and I hope that all who attended also felt as proud of their police force too.