DC Sian Thomas, 27, became a police officer to help young victims of abuse. Here she explains what motivates her and why she loves her job.
My friends and family often say to me, “I don’t know how you can do your job, it must be so scary” or “I can’t believe you are a police officer, I would never have thought, you of all people”. But the thing is, it isn’t scary and if you walked a day in my shoes you would probably realise why I chose this career seven years ago.
Growing up in what was a very happy, single parent family, but at times difficult due to society’s judgements, was what motivated me to become a police officer. I wanted to show people that growing up with that stigma should never stop you from achieving your dreams, and if you work hard, do good and help others you can achieve anything you aspire to achieve, no matter what or who gets in your way.
My goal was to become a police officer in order to help children who were victims of abuse. That is exactly what I do and have done so for the past two-and-a-half years. On a daily basis I respond to concerns for children’s welfare, going to their homes and schools to speak with them. A referral detailing concerns will come into a specialist unit called the MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) from a member of the public, school or other person who has contact with children. There will be a discussion between professionals to determine whether the concern requires a joint response between police and social care. Often I will go with a social worker and speak with the child or children, with police often taking the lead on investigations and social care taking the lead on safeguarding thereafter. If the child tells me that something has happened to them I work jointly with a social worker to make sure that they are safe, whether that be with another family member, removal of the offender or, as a last resort, foster placement. If the child makes allegations that are criminal then I conduct an investigation into the allegations, but make sure that the child’s needs and safety are my priority. This can include interviewing the child by way of a video interview or taking a statement.
I also deal with historical allegations of child abuse including child sex abuse which involves me tracing witnesses, taking statements and sometimes travelling the country to do this. I have even had investigations that require me to make contact with witnesses overseas. By their nature, these types of investigations can take a long time but are very rewarding when you get them to court and there is justice for the victims. Often the victims have kept the abuse hidden the majority of their lives so it takes a lot of courage for them to come to the police and disclose to a complete stranger. Sometimes all of the disclosure can’t be captured in one sitting due to either the volume of abuse they have suffered or it is simply too distressing to cover in one go and so the disclosure will be made over a number of sittings at the victim’s pace.
My job isn’t easy, but I what I can say is that it is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done. Knowing that I kept a child safe is what motivates me to continue doing the job. Helping children to see that they are more than just a victim of circumstance and that they can overcome it will always be what makes me keep coming to work.
Often children don’t have a voice, so I am reliant on members of the public, other police officers and other professionals to be their voice and report anything and everything that is of concern so that detectives like myself can get to the bottom of it and investigate the abuse and ultimately safeguard children.
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