How long have you been a police officer? Karen Giles, Karen Giles, an experienced an experienced Metropolitan Metropolitan Police officer Police officer I joined the Metropolitan Police Service which is based in London and in Greater London just 28 years ago. It is a very large police force with about 31 thousand police officers and 16 thousand civilian staff. The City of London has its own police service and covers a very small area which includes ST Pauls Cathedral and Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London started many years ago.
Why did you decide to become a police officer? I decided to join the police service after a police woman visited my school when I was about fifteen years old. I lived in a small town in the South West of England and my mother was very worried when I decided to travel to London to join the police. I had never visited London and when I stepped off the train at Paddington Station I was startled by the noise and all the traffic!
What is your typical working day? I work on a response team which means that we answer calls made to Scotland Yard and the local police station by people from the local community. We deal with family arguments, people who have had their homes broken into, assaults, people who are lost or who have fallen over at home and cannot get up – lots of very different situations.
What is your typical working day? It is a challenging job and there are many different aspects to policing a large city. Some of my colleagues have police dogs, some ride police horses, others ride police motorbikes and many work in plain clothes.
What is your typical day? I work shifts which means that I work two early turns (06.00 – or 15.00), two late turns (13.00 – 23.00) and then two night duties (21.00 – 06.00) and then I have four days off.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job? It is difficult sometimes because there are many tragic situations which need to be dealt with by police – people who die suddenly as a result of accidents or who have been attacked. It is important to be compassionate and strong in these situations. However there are many good experiences – a colleague was called to a house and delivered a baby boy – yes it does happen occasionally!
Are British police officers armed? Most British police officers do not carry firearms. There are teams of officers who have extra training and carry guns but they are only called in for very serious incidents where perhaps a person has used a gun.
What skills and personal qualities do you need to be a police officer? The skills you need as a police officer in the UK are varied. You need a very good sense of humour, a strong constitution (cant faint at the sight of blood!), a sense of duty in serving the community, like talking to people (I talk a lot!) and most off all believe in the importance of law and order.