In 2016, I made the difficult decision to leave the police. This wasn’t a decision I expected I’d make. I loved the Job, loved working in child protection and the impact I was making. But I saw a role advertised by the NSPCC recruiting to the newly formed Child Safety Online team and it made me think. Instead of responding to child abuse concerns, I could play a part in preventing it, and selfishly, try and help reduce pressure on the police. My police friends thought I was insane. As we know, the Job has a great pension scheme, staff benefits, job security (and free travel where I worked!), so they couldn’t quite understand it. But I wanted to try something new. So, I made the leap.
The change in organisation was clear from day one. One of my new colleagues had to take me aside and gently tell me I didn’t need to be suited and booted (we are now firm friends). My second line manager thought it was hilarious I called her boss (that took me a while to stop), and that I called the CEO Sir (which he now is by the way). Lunch breaks were a new thing too as was leaving on time – not that either happen at the moment! It was a new world.
But what an opportunity it was. The last five years have been a great learning and development experience. Working with large corporations like O2, LEGO and the Premier League to design and develop content to support parents and carers to help keep children safe online. Collaborating with the Internet Watch Foundation, National Crime Agency and the Home Office to develop innovative tools to help children remove sexualised images from the internet. As a subject matter expert, I advise different teams across the organisation on child safety online activity, processes and policies, and lead our practice focused response for the organisation. I also utilise my policing background to enhance our law enforcement relationships, working closely with the National Crime Agency and representing the NSPCC at our senior stakeholder meetings (often translating police speak to charity speak and vice versa!). Throughout all my work, I have utilised my frontline experiences and expertise to shape our activity, to put the voice and emotions of the child, parent/carer or professional into what we develop to ensure we are truly responding to their needs in a way they can understand and act upon. Most importantly, I am able to truly make an impact in safeguarding children from harm online.
Whilst I completely understand the apprehension some have about leaving the Job – it is not an easy decision – I want to say there is life after the police. Our skills do translate. Project management? That is case file investigation and management. Collaboration and partnerships? You do this every day with different teams within the police and with outside agencies that you work with (LADO, CPS etc.). So take a chance. Make an impact in a different way. Join the NSPCC in our fight to transform the online world so it’s safe for every child to go online.
Red Snapper Recruitment have been supporting police officers as they leave policing for over 20 years. We offer a range jobseeker services from CV / application writing, interview techniques and re-skilling services.
RSR are currently recruiting for an Associate Head of Child Online Safety for the NSPCC – https://www.bluelinejobs.co.uk/jobs/view/14094/search.