There have been many memorable events in the past 15 years of work. I joined GMP knowing we would have the chance of policing the 2002 Commonwealth Games which I thought would be an amazing opportunity.
Just weeks before the Games were due to get underway the terrorist attack on September 11 happened. I remember being sat reading through a rather boring report in my isolated office. In the corner was a small portable television or at least that maimed to be portable to 2001 standards. As ever I always have the rolling news channels on and I looked up and could not believe what I was seeing.
I sat transfixed watching something that I had only seen in the movies. It was horrific and it changed the world. It also changed my views of what I thought was going to be communicating about a nice event into a serious business.
Policing and police communication is a serious business but you can still smile and be creative as I have learnt throughout the years.
I have faced some huge communication challenges in 15 years, including riots, terrorism arrests, and a number of tragedies. It is always the incidents involving people that are the most distressing. When you get involved in a personal level and have a connection it can be hard to deal with. In those times it is communication that has helped me. I switched into focused work mode which allowed me to put aside any personal emotion. But only for a short time.
There have also been many positive events including when we carried out Twitterday in 2010 – live tweeting all incidents. It was an amazing team effort and was the start of my social media obsession.
In 15 years I have worked with some wonderful and creative people, and had a wide range of bosses (but more of that later in the week). Despite the chance in personnel the work has not fundamentally changed. Policing is still regularly put under the media spotlight, incidents happen and we deal professionally with tragedies, and there are plenty of opportunities to be proactive and positive within communication.
The role of the police communicator has never been more important than in recent years. Being able to support frontline policing matters and it is why I am still hooked 15 years on.
When I think back 15 years the world was changed by 9/11 and my world was most definitely changed by moving to the new role.