How To Survive Your Police Career- 1Darren joined Kent Police in 1990. He spent six years on section before transferring to a tactical team where he spent a further four years engaged in public order duties (including video evidence gathering and later as a Forward Intelligence Officer), search warrants, anti-street drug dealing operations, POLSA and surveillance work. Following this time, he transferred to a firearms role where he spent a further ten years as an AFO, crewing ARVs in response to spontaneous firearms incidents and carrying out protection duties for high-profile politicians. During this time, he also qualified as a Ballistic Teams Medic.

In 2010 he decided that he was probably getting a little old for all that firearms Tom Foolery and that it might be better to find a role that didn’t involve having to climb over eight feet high walls … in the pouring rain … in the middle of the night … carrying more luggage than he generally took on holiday … with the aim then of hiding in a bush for eight hours whilst staring at a house and waiting for someone to come out who may or may not have a gun. He, therefore, returned to section work and was promoted Sergeant where he is still deployed today, doing a mixture of uniformed response, admin and custody roles depending on what the Queen requires of him that month. He has been a Trauma Management (TRiM) practitioner since 2006, aiding colleagues with their recovery from traumatic incidents as well as assisting in the training of new practitioners. He is also qualified as a Post Incident Manager (PIM) supporting colleagues after incidents of death or serious injury following police contact.

He is married with two children and lives in Kent. Outside of work he enjoys sailing (badly … sometimes suicidally), cycling, walking and then recovering from these energetic activities by reading historical biographies the size of building blocks which encourage him to fall asleep.

How To Survive Your Police Career- 3

Mark Heffernan is a chartered physiotherapist, qualifying in 2002. He joined the police service in 2007 and enjoyed hurting – or treating - police officers and staff so much that he stayed.

In his time working with police he has developed his role to that of ‘injury reduction consultant’ and delivers talks to all new recruits in how to reduce their risk of injury in the first place. This, he thought naively, would allow him to make a cup of tea, put his feet up and become redundant - no chance in this line of work! Fast cars, riot shields and Saturday night roll-arounds cause injury but then so do poor eating, seating, sleeping, stress, computer screens, mice, mobiles and shift work - please sit up properly while reading this!

In Mark’s efforts to understand the business of policing, he has spent time kitted up with firearms, public order, method of entry and helps train recruits in fitness to ensure they are robust enough for the rigours of the Police service whilst reducing their risk of injury.

In his younger years he attempted to make it as an athlete, but soon found that even giving 100% was never going to replace the talent he lacked in abundance, so, he hung up his spikes for a decent pair of shoes and became a postman ... well, he thought, it would be better than walking the streets! Thirteen years later and noticing that heavy post bags cause twisted spines he sought a way out. First he became a driving instructor while also gaining qualifications in personal training and massage. Having had enough of being chased down streets by dangerous dogs and now 36 with three children, (4,3,1) he decided to test his marriage to the full by going back to college and getting those academic qualifications that so easily eluded him in his younger years. During these hard years the highlight of his week was finding a quid down the back of the sofa so they could buy a loaf of bread. He passed the access course with flying colours and went to university to study Physiotherapy. Now 37 and a mature student he hoped when he got to Uni that he wouldn’t be so old as to be classed as mouldy. He was very relieved to find he wasn’t the oldest.

How To Survive Your Police Career- 5Six months before qualifying, while on placement in the NHS, he challenged a superintendent physiotherapist who was not treating the elderly patients well and came close to being thrown off the course. But he was vindicated. Returning to university, and rapidly approaching 40, he was asked by two fellow students, ‘When were diagnosed with dyslexia?’ to which he replied, ‘No I’m not dyslexic, I think it’s my dodgy eyesight. The words jump up and down and I get a headache after ten minutes of reading.’ They laughed but he went for an assessment to be advised that he must have been severely dyslexic as a child and was now a compensated dyslexic. Armed with a ‘disability’ he was asked to attend a counselling session at the university and asked, ‘How do you feel about being given this diagnosis?’ to which he replied, ‘Thank you very much … always thought dyslexics were more intelligent than the concrete sequential learners! Einstein, Newton, Branson, all dyslexic and now I’m in the same club … ta very much.’

From university Mark spent five years working in the NHS taking in such disciplines as neurology, outpatients, orthopaedics, paediatrics, respiratory and intensive care but left shortly afterwards as a result of a serious assault one morning in-between treating patients which led on to PTSD. A stint of sick leave followed during which time a chance encounter with the Metropolitan Police led to Mark being offered the role as Kent Police physiotherapist.

In 2014 Mark challenged his dyslexia to the limit by writing and publishing a book, ‘I Am The Referee’ about the world’s best, (at time of writing) boxing referee, Ian John Lewis. It continues to sell well. Writing is his hobby and he is currently negotiating to having the two novels he has written transferred to the screen – watch this space!

Now, at 56, he still plays football and is in the same team as his two sons who are 24 and 21. Life is good and he is glad to report that it’s been a few years since he has had to frisk the sofa in ‘search’ for a meal!

How To Survive Your Police Career- 7Debbie qualified as a nurse in 1997 and since then have worked in many different environments from Accident and Emergency to Gynaecology. I joined Kent Police in 2001 and began working as a Forensic Nurse Practitioner dealing with some interesting clients whilst at the same time trying to understand aspects of the law that as a nurse I have never had to consider before! In 2006 I became the manager of the service whilst at the same time studying for a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours. Over the last 11 years, my role has changed due to the restructuring of the force and I am now Head of Operational Healthcare. As life wasn’t busy enough I also undertook further study and am now qualified as an Independent Nurse Prescriber. When I have any down time I like to spend it with my husband, our dogs and our ever-expanding number of grandchildren.

How To Survive Your Police Career- 9Wayne joined Kent Police in 1999, he first tried to join in the early 1990s but was a little too wet behind the ears so got told to go away and come back in a few years’ time so he thought he would do the next best thing and joined the Royal Military Police. He has done a variety of different jobs (and two lots of promotion exams) and his most recent is as the Force Mental Health Liaison Inspector which he has held since 2014. Like Darren he is also a Trauma Management (TRiM) practitioner and hopes to qualify as a counsellor in 2019 as he has a great interest both professionally and personally in this area. He loves to study and has a masters degree in terrorism studies which took 6 years to attain and isn’t too bad for someone that bunked college to paint the staffroom at Burger King and got told off by his mum for doing so. Outside of work he loves moaning about how his VW camper-van keeps breaking down.

How To Survive Your Police Career- 11Station Manager Jim Ledger joined the fire service in 1996 at the age of 29. Completing the 16-week recruit course set him on a career dealing with incidents ranging from multi-vehicle road traffic accidents to large fires at various ranks gaining experience and knowledge on how to keep safe and deal with the unexpected. During that time he has studied to gain fire service promotion exams to the rank of station manager.

After 10 years of riding the fire engines at various ranks, his experience gave him the opportunity to train as an instructor in the fire service gaining qualifications in fire behaviour, positive ventilation tactics, marine firefighter. plus Cert Ed teaching qualifications for adult education with a supporting diploma in business studies.

Whilst in training SM Jim Ledger developed lead roles in Marine firefighting and taught incident command tactics to level 2 commanders building a good knowledge on changing practices in firefighting as modern building construction changed the dangers to firefighters and how modern technology allows for safer firefighting tactics.

SM Jim Ledger is presently a station manager in the service as a manager of 3 operational stations and is actively a level 2 fire officer.

When SM Jim Ledger is not fighting fires he spends is time cycling and travelling Europe in his motorhome with his longtime partner with the ambition to travel further afield with cycle and motorhome when he retires.