Maria | Counter Terrorism Policing

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Head of Interventions

Can you tell us about your career and leadership journey?

Maria Lovegrove



I am coming up to 30 years’ in policing and I started as a young police officer working in Camden.

I joined Counter Terrorism Policing about 20 years ago as a detective constable, not long after the attacks of 7/7 and initially worked on the post attack investigation.

I have worked across Counter Terrorism Policing in lots of different departments, both in London and in national and regional units across the UK.

I have been lucky to progress through most of ranks in CT and I have worked with some incredible people along the way.

With everything that I’ve done, it has taken me to a point now where I am incredibly proud to be leading CTP’s Interventions capabilities nationally.


Can you share how CTP has supported your career development?

As I said I’ve benefited from working with some incredible people, particularly some really inspirational women.

I was very lucky at one point in my career to have worked closely with Cressida Dick.  She was impressive and inspirational and it cemented for me that importance of helping other women and advocating for women in a very definite and positive way.

This career has given me amazing opportunities. Every time something has been offered to me I’ve said yes, but I think it’s also important to know, that some things I’ve had to fight for as they weren’t immediately within reach.


What would you say you love most about your job?

Firstly that I genuinely love my job! That is still what I think nearly 30 years’ later.  I feel more connected than ever to that feeling that this feels important.

It’s in keeping the public safe, creating better outcomes for individuals that come into the CT system, some of whom are very vulnerable and susceptible but it’s also in terms of the cultural challenge of being in policing at a time that’s really, really difficult.


What advice would you give women who want to join the police?

Do it! It is a brilliant career. I haven’t really ever had a career plan but I decided to join the police because of the breadth of opportunity.

The different things that you can get involved in and because of the fact that it is genuinely starting to feel like a place that is equitable for women and for people from all underrepresented groups. 

Increased diversity makes it a brilliant place to work and we need to keep pushing for this.


In what ways has CTP invested in your profession?

It’s both what CTP has given me and what I’ve taken. I’ve taken every opportunity to step into a different role no matter how challenging it was.

Sometimes people who I’ve worked with have pushed me to do things that I didn’t feel that I could do.

When I joined the Police it wasn’t an environment that I felt I could be open in terms of my sexuality and as a result I wasn’t bringing my whole self to work.

Thankfully this has changed and in addition I have also been able to be honest about my struggles as a result of the fact that I have ADHD.

Sometimes it has been difficult, when you’ve got a brain that works in a slightly different way – it is hard to fit that into a very structured and disciplined organisation. 

But, being honest with the people I work with has enabled me to use the things that ADHD gives me in a positive way whilst getting the support of my brilliant team when I find things difficult.


What has been your proudest moment?

There are the obvious operational successes and those times that the work that we’ve done has really made a difference, both in keeping people safe or diverting people away from a trajectory towards terrorism.

But actually, my proudest moment is seeing the women that I work with thrive and achieve things that they didn’t believe they can do.

Being successful and getting through a promotion process or getting a job that they thought was out of their reach.