It is always great to meet people who do a similar job or work in the same industry so a room full of police communicators is like hitting the jackpot. There are few occasions during the year when the opportunity arises to share concerns, issues, challenges and ideas with peers.
We all get caught up in the day-to-day demands and getting our heads down to make things work. It means we often lose sight of those around us who may be able to help, provide advice or just be there to lean on. From the very first time I started to work in police communications I realised the value of having people around you to rely on. The people who you can ask for advice and whose judgement you value.
Seventeen years on I am lucky to still have some of those people around to share experiences with. We may not see each other from one year to the next but when we do it is easy to pick up and continue the conversation. Social media has helped to bring people together but it is still good to be able to meet face-to-face. As well as those people I have known for years there are lots more people that I have got to know through the work. I value their fresh look at some perennial problems.
We all need to have a strong support network around us whether that is for personal or professional issues. It is something that will keep us going through the tough times and be there when we have more to celebrate. They are the people who understand the tough environment and difficult issues that are faced. They understand it because they often have experienced it.
A room full of police communicators may not sound the most exciting place for some people but for me even after 17 years it is somewhere that is extremely valuable for learning, developing and most of all support.