Helen | Counter Terrorism Policing

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Director of Intelligence

Detective Superintendent Helen Collier is Director of Intelligence at Counter Terrorism Policing North West and is passionate about creating an inclusive environment for her officers and staff.

Helen Collier


“I made the decision to join the police when I was approaching the end of my Pharmacology degree, I knew I wanted to work with people but wasn’t really sure where that might take me.

“When I look back now it was quite a hasty choice, but 26 years on, I can say I have never once regretted my decision, it was absolutely my vocation.

“Throughout my career I’ve worked in CID, murder and drugs teams, been a family liaison officer and a specialist interviewer. I’ve also worked in covert teams, before finding myself entering the incredible world of counter terrorism.

“Along the way, I’ve tried to share my experiences with other women, hopefully demonstrating the career paths available and dispelling those dreaded myths about balancing family life, or what a ‘traditional copper’ looks like.

“At the same time, I have also seen policing change, and there have been huge steps made to make sure any misogyny or inappropriate behaviours are challenged, but of course there is still work to be done.

“We should never be complacent, especially as leaders in an organisation. I am passionate about making sure everyone has an environment in which they can thrive.

“There is no avoiding the fact that the work we do is challenging and it can be physically and emotionally draining and I encourage my teams to be open and honest about that. I’ve certainly had moments in my career that I’ve found tough; working on homicide teams then coming home to read to my children before bed is definitely a gear-change.

“As I’ve progressed in my career, that balancing act has changed again – as a senior officer trying to be at the top of my game, leading complex terrorism investigations, with elderly parents to support and all the other life admin can be interesting. That’s where the support of your organisation is vital, and CTP are very much committed to ensuring that balance is achievable.

“If you’re thinking of applying for a job with Counter Terrorism Policing, don’t be put off by what you think are the stereotypes. It is a tough job, but it’s so worth it. There are some amazing roles for both officers and staff, and you will have some incredible career paths ahead of you.

“On International Women’s Day I think about the strong women in my family, my great grandmother who pushed boundaries in the early 1900s by becoming a school teacher and my own mum, who had a long career in the NHS, working so hard and dedicating herself to public service. I was lucky to grow up with strong female influences around me, I owe them a lot.”