Alison | Counter Terrorism Policing

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Head of Counter Terrorism Policing Unit

What do you love about your job?


I’ve got 28 years’ service now and what I’ve always loved about my job is that we’ve got diversity in our roles.

There’s lots of different lateral development opportunities and specialist departments to move into. 

As a senior leader I’ve worked across the Public Protection Unit, Cyber Resilience in the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and Force CID, also more recently after over ten years, I went back into uniform policing again to experience what it’s like working with officers on the frontline.

The second part of it, which is really important to me and the reason why I joined in the first place is the public service aspect.

It’s actually the reason why we’re all doing this to make a difference for the community.

So whether that’s faster response times to help those in need, get better outcomes for victims or even just reducing crime, I think it’s really important.

At the end of every day, you feel like you are making a difference to the community, which is what we all join for.


Do you do you have any reflections on your career in policing?

The public service aspect of it and trying to reduce crime for the community, trying to achieve better outcomes for those members of the communities.

I joined the police and the police cadets at the age of 16, so that was 30 years ago and those are all the things I joined for at that time.

But, I was really fortunate enough to be able to do community placements to prepare myself for being a police officer.


Have you done anything specific to develop your career?

You are constantly developing. I think you develop by all the different roles that you do.

When I first joined, I spent a lot of time on response and neighbourhood policing in a busy part of the West Midlands, where I constantly gained learning from colleagues, learning from a tutor constable, learning from my leaders.

In addition, there’s also been development opportunities for me personally. I suppose I haven’t missed out academically.

I’ve been able to maximise opportunities to go to university, complete a master’s degree in business administration, all of which obviously I’ve been able to do whilst being a police officer.


What does it mean to be a woman in policing?

I’m particularly proud to be a female Detective Chief Superintendent. When I joined the police service 28 years ago, I joined on a big shift of 24/7 response policing and I was one of only two female officers on that team of 33.

So actually I know how it feels to be different and in the minority and obviously I’ve taken that with me in my career, in terms of the diverse array of officers and team mates that I have worked alongside.

That has been a valuable experience for me. As a result, I’ve overcome a lot of challenges along the way.

It has made me more of a resilient person, but with that, there has also been many opportunities as well.

Our aim is to represent the community that we serve. Unfortunately, we haven’t achieved that yet.

However, if we can, we will engage and connect better with the community in order to solve some of the complex problems that we see.

We have moved a long way and made lots of progress in that direction and the gender split is a lot more balanced than it was previously 28 years ago.

But, I think it’s really important that we continue to work towards that and make sure that we do represent the community moving forward.

I see my new role now as a leader in the organisation, in the role of Head of a Counter Terrorism Unit, as a role model and actually it is possible to achieve it as a female.


Do you have a memorable moment where you felt empowered?

I’m absolutely delighted to be the Head of the Counter Terrorism unit for the West Midlands. This is just the most incredible opportunity.

I’ve worked hard for my whole career and actually to be given this opportunity means such a lot to me. With 28 years’ service, it’s really nice to be able to go into a new department, working with different people and external partners in order to really upskill and learn in a completely different area.


What advice would you give to women aspiring to join the police?

Go for it. If it’s something that you want to do, then you’ve just got to go for it. Don’t have any second thoughts and it’s absolutely possible.