A few years ago as sat watching TV on a rainy Saturday, I thought I would remove the last bit of spare time I had to myself, by applying to join the Special Police Constabulary. If you are not sure what that is, in a nut-shell this means you are a volunteer in the police, albeit a fully warranted and operational police officer, but one who does not get paid and commits a minimum of 16-hours per month to the role.
As I told my family and friends the great news regarding my application, positive re-enforcement was not their initial response! A great northern British response was to first laugh, followed by insults of, “What, the midget police!?” or the old classic “It’s a good job they got rid of the minimum height rule!”
Nevertheless, with the Great British Stiff-Upper-Lip, I continued with my application despite the negativity, and to my amazement, I made it through to the assessment centre. At the assessment centre is where reality of being short kicked in; at the Police HQ I was by far the smallest guy (and nearly girl) in the room. The “Real” Police Officers present in the room had well exceeded six-feet tall, and in panic, I thought about how the hell I would actually arrest somebody given my short height and stature.
The power of negative self-doubt
As you can imagine, this is where I started to doubt myself about being short and why I was even applying in the first place. Self-doubt is unfortunately one of the key drivers in which people give up on their ideas or dreams. The key here is to try and positively re-enforce your own thoughts actions and to never give up.
Fast forwarding a few months, I aced the assessment centre, passed the exams and the final interview, and to my delight I was offered a role with the police. During our training we were taught a lot of personal defence tactics, but more importantly, the power of using effective communication.
Modern policing isn’t about brawling in the street, it’s about having the ability to listen, communicate, and show reasoning in today’s ever changing social and economic environment.
Today, there is a big disparity between the ‘have’s’ and the ‘have not’s’ and I am a big believer in helping to give something back, no matter what you situation.
The police are the public and the public are the police– Robert Peel (the first ‘bobby’)
I made a lot of friends during our 10-week training period (Friday to Sunday Training), from all walks of life, and let me tell you, there is no such thing as a typical “police officer”. The driving factor that brought us together was a sense of giving something back to the community, oh, and a very dark humour!
I was the smallest guy and nearly girl in the training class, but I was usual, humorous self and so I loved every minute of it.
If you want to challenge yourself in some very difficult and wonderful situations, I would recommend the special constabulary to you. Forget height, age, gender or race, it simply doesn’t matter these days, the public will not judge when you are helping them.
When on duty, yes, some people will take the mickey out of my height from time to time, however, when somebody dials 999 and needs help, they are thankful of the uniform and the service we provide and not the officers features.
Believe me, you are not too short to be a police officer, those days are long gone!
Jon, 5’7” Police Officer