There are others who have been here working hard whilst you’ve been off

I joined the police in March 2001 and went into CID in 2005 which was always my intention. My mum and dad were both police officers, my dad doing 30 years and then 8 as police staff.I passed the promotion exams around the same time and made it clear I wanted to achieve promotion from this point. I decided to broaden my experience and moved to PSD (internal complaints and discipline) in 2008, a great diverse experience where I was allowed to permanently act for a year doing call out DS duties etc… I applied for promotion and was successful in obtaining an interview board in 2012, which was the first opportunity after the freeze and a very competitive process. I was very heavily pregnant when I sat the board and was unsuccessful in gaining promotion. I was already on maternity leave and during this my line manager changed. I took the full 12 months off and the following year the boards were advertised and I again applied, whilst still on maternity leave. My new line manager (who had never supervised me) stated she would not support my application as in her opinion I was not able to fully evidence all the required criteria and could not show development since my last board as i was on maternity leave. I challenged this and was supported by the head of PSD. I was then not successful in the remaining process. When discussing what had gone on with my line manager when I returned from maternity leave a month later her words to me were “it was your choice to have a baby and have a year off” “there are others who have been here working hard whilst you’ve been off”. I decided my fate was sealed and that my only option was to move to another department and try and prove myself and get back to the stage where I could go for promotion again.

I approached a DCI about wanting a position on divisional CID where I could achieve my career goal and balance the fact that my husband works shifts in the police also. I was met with his comments of “well it’s a shame you’re a part time worker as getting promoted will be difficult”, “you wont be able to follow a team and commit fully” “ can’t your husband work part time”…I spoke with a female DI who said why are you coming back to Division you’ll be doing 50 hour weeks put your family first… I again saw the writing on the wall and decided I couldn’t achieve a happy family life and have a career in CID.. I then made the hard decision to return to uniform which was against everything I wanted to do but for the balance of my family life and career progression I figured this would be the only way… I met with DSupt  who asked me why I wanted to return to uniform and his response was plenty of people make it work, my response was “at what personal cost”..

The realities of uniform were very disappointing for me,  I found myself with no feeling of value and my experience was wasted and not appreciated. I was part of the female working group Inspire and found it disheartening to see even in this forum there was an expectation that women should be able to put work first and the solution was the husbands had to do more…

Then the restructure and the threat of me having to work within DCID as a PC completely counteracted my original reason for going to uniform and I decided to leave and find a more family friendly employer which I am happy to say I have done.

I have to say every female I know that has returned to work (especially in CID)  having had a baby has felt like they have to make a choice, career or family, there is no happy balance, the ones who are successful put work first and the ones who seem happy at home put home first… there is just no support for the women who want both…

Fortunately for me i have since found a new job within the NHS and left the police in July 2014. I now work very flexibly..full time… and have the best work life balance i could imagine and i also feel absolutely no barriers to my future development as there are just as many senior females in the NHS (with famlies) as not…unlike the police!!!