Trainee police officers in Worthing have shared their motivations for entering the force as a Home Office campaign to recruit 20,000 new officers is launched.
Roxanne Prince-Iles is just four weeks away from hitting the streets of Worthing as one of the town’s newest police officers.
Fighting crime will be a new direction for the 31-year-old who has spent the last 12 years in education, most recently working at a school in Brighton, where one of her responsibilities was working closely with vulnerable children and their families.
Roxanne said that, despite enjoying her career, she knew she had always wanted to be a police officer.
She said: “I had fulfilled my dreams [in education] and helped thousands of children over the years. But I felt that if I didn’t do it now, I wouldn’t do it.”
From her experience at schools, she said she was ‘quite shocked’ at how negatively many children viewed the police.
“The children were really scared of the police,” she said. “It was all about how they get the baddies and scare people.
“Once I started to dig a bit deeper and said, what if I was a police officer? They said that’s different because you’re nice.
“I started doing projects with them, to show the police are there to help people. I wanted to make a difference with the children.”
She said it was important to build up trust so that children felt confident calling the police if they found themselves in trouble.
Part of that is making sure they have opportunities to interact with officers and realise they are ‘still human’, and Roxanne said that once she had more experience, she hopes to visit schools to hold talks with students.
She said the application process to become a police officer was tough but that with each stage she progressed through, the more she knew she wanted the job.
Roxanne has spent the last few months training with other recruits at the Sussex Police HQ in Lewes.
“It’s like going back to school, learning all over again,” she said of the experience.
“The first week I found quite challenging. This time last week I was teaching, I was standing at the front, it’s like role reversal but I think it’s really important that you can do it at any age.”
She said she hoped her career jump would inspire others to do the same.
“I’ve had two careers. I think there’s always room to improve on yourself,” she said. “You don’t just need to have one dream.”
Roxanne was among 72 trainee police officers who met policing Minister Kit Malthouse when he visited the Sussex Police HQ earlier this month to launch the Home Office’s national recruitment campaign.
She was even interviewed for a Channel 5 TV segment on the topic.
When asked what advice she would give to others considering joining the police force, she said: “I would just say 100 per cent do it.
“You can regret in life things you didn’t do, you can’t regret things you did do.
“But actually what you realise when you are here, you pick up so many skills and experience, the other people come from all different walks of life, you are learning from everybody.”
Other new Worthing officers have also featured as part of the campaign to recruit 20,000 new PCs.
Fareesha Camin PC, who started her training with Sussex Police in March, was filmed for a promotional video in Worthing where she describes her training so far.
Fareesha has been working as a response officer since July 2019 in Worthing, responding to 999 calls and other urgent matters.
She previously ran her own charity protecting vulnerable women and children before taking a leap and changing career to fulfil her lifelong ambition of becoming a police officer.
She was once a volunteer Special constable with the Met but it was Sussex Police she chose to join and where she hopes to go on to work in child protection.
She said: “I want to use the skills I’ve gained with charities working with both vulnerable adults and children to help people in communities in Sussex.”
PC Nathan Wells, who joined the Response Unit in the Worthing division in June 2019, was also filmed as part of the campaign.
Nathan had previously worked as a contact handler at Surrey Police for 5 years.
He said: “I joined Sussex Police to help those in need. I want to be that public figure people know they can go to.
“I am looking forward to coming home after a hard day’s work and knowing I’ve made a positive impact on a person’s life.”