My name is Dave, I am 51 years old and retired from a large provincial English police force in January 2013 having served 30 years. I finished as Detective Sergeant having been promoted in 2002.
The majority of my career, 25 years, was spent as a Detective, investigating all types of offences across the spectrum from low level local, volume crime such as burglary to the serious including murder and terrorist offences.
I always had a keen interest in the covert side of policing and this led me in to the world of surveillance, under cover work and human intelligence. With the introduction of RIPA legislation (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) this whole aspect of policing came under the spotlight and prompted a whole host of training courses in all the areas effected. I made it my goal to have as much professional training in these area's as I could get to allow me to do my job safely and professionally with other similarly trained personnel so that no one would be compromised and as a supervisor protecting the organisational reputation of my force so it would not be thrust in to the public domain by the failings of its staff.
In 2003 I was tasked with setting up a Dedicated Source Handling Unit (Humint) on my inner city territorial division. This was a forcewide project and presented it's own challenges. After selecting the right staff and the best location available, the work came thick and fast. It was not without pressure, both internally and externally. Internally, answering to the management and providing the intelligence they wanted so that it could be 'actioned', leading to arrests and detections. Externally the pressure came from a variety of sources including the assets, venues utilised, vehicles used, personal security, etc. The list could go on! What this type of work quickly taught me was the benefits of good risk management and mitigating risks. For the next 3 years, I supervised a small team who had a number of significant successes. During this period I became heavily involved in the world of football intelligence gathering, particularly surrounding the England national team whenever they played at home and abroad. This resulted in me having liaison at a national level in the UK and also traveling abroad, including a major FIFA tournament, liaising with European law enforcement agencies with the goal being that the fixtures were played in a safe environment for all those attending and the reputation of the national team was not sullied by the violent, distasteful actions of a minority.
In 2006, I moved in to the world of National Security and joined the Special Branch which later became the Counter Terrorist Unit. I was involved in a similar role as my previous one, that of supervising a small team that specialised in Humint gathering. I worked closely with a number of agencies and was involved in a number of difficult investigations. However the theme running through all aspects of my role was risk management and risk mitigation.
During this posting, which would take me to the 30 year point, I was trained on a variety of courses in relation to personal safety, counter and anti-surveillance, tradecraft and route planning. The theme across all these skills areas is risk management.
I also got involved in staff training. I would lecture from a practitioners perspective on all aspects of Source handling / covert intelligence gathering to peers and colleagues from other agencies. I would also role play on courses, engaging with students in and out of role, offering feedback on the positives and negatives of their performance. I also sat on a national working group which developed a document for the delivery of covert intelligence in a standard format that could be used by a number of agencies.
I brought the curtain down on my career in January 2013 with a clear plan that I wanted to carry on working and that I saw my future in the Security Industry. But first I took the decision to have 9 months off and enjoy family life again having lived apart from my wife and son for 5 years which was the result of our life choice to emigrate from the UK and live abroad whilst getting my son a good education and broadening his horizons.
The 9 months 'retirement' is almost up, so now what next for a 51 year old, ex-cop?
I like to think that the experiences and skills I have acquired over a 30 year Police career will stand me in good stead. But it is the skills and abilities I have gained during the last 10 / 15 years of my service that I feel I can transfer in to the commercial security environment. I have worked under pressure as the leader of a small team, ensuring the safety of an individual not only during physical interactions but the whole 24/7 period when the mobile could ring at anytime and the 'client' presents you with a problem that needs to dealt with there and then. I see parallels between this and providing security for a principle in the commercial world. I also have the skill to draft risk assessments and look in detail at risk management plans.
I aim to try and progress my employment status during the next 12 months with first starting to network alongside developing my CV to a standard that will allow me to apply for roles within the sector. One of the conundrums I presently face is, do I get myself on a training course to enhance my skill's and employability and which one? This decision will be guided by the area(s) I decide to focus on. Unlike the military, when you retire from the Police, there is no resettlement period or credits you can use towards training courses.
A lot of my ex-colleagues fear life after the police, it being a fear of the unknown and being labeled an 'ex-cop'. I don't take that attitude. I want to embrace life after a long career. I want to learn new skills. I want to meet new people. I want to test myself.
Hopefully having the right attitude and the willingness to work will pay off and I can find a role in the industry that I can do justice to.