An aspiring cop who recently spent a week at Ely Police Station got to help store seized drug equipment, accompany a PCSO on a school visit and show a blind visitor around the station – and almost as importantly, he learned how to make a “perfect cup of tea”!
Ely College student William Andrews, 14, has given a fascinating insight into his week’s work experience with police in his recently published blog.
William described this time at Ely Police Station in late June as “the best experience of my life” and has paid tribute to the hardworking staff at the station.
“All of them gave me loads of advice for the future and they were all just genuinely kind and they all care about the community and the people in it.”
His week started with a morning briefing followed by a trip to Police Headquarters in Hinchingbrooke. On his return to Ely Police Station, he sat down with Sergeant Phil Priestly to work on social media for the station, Policing East Cambridgeshire.
Inspector Marcia Pringle and Detective Constable Pete Ware (both “very nice”) took time out to tell William about their roles. The work experience student then conducted service checks on police cars, including checking the oil, tyre tread and washing the screens.
“When I had finished this, Sergeant Ryan Carter took me home in his police car.”
On Tuesday, William got to meet, Donny, “the wisest man in the building”. That’s station enquiry officer Donny Taylor, one of the first people you meet when you enter the station.
He also met Louise Titmarsh, the person in charge of the CCTV room in Ely.
“I saw all the CCTV cameras around Ely and was told how it all worked.
“When I got back from the CCTV room PC Mark Howe took me outside into the yard and showed me all of their equipment such as the device they use to break doors down (this is super heavy!) and he also showed me devices for breaking locks and the devices for forcing entry into a building if a person is stuck or they need to gain entry in a hurry.
“After he had shown me all of this gear he showed me his police support unit (PSU) gear which includes flame-proof trousers and jacket.
“When we went back inside, I asked how handcuffs worked, so of course he showed me. He also showed me his belt with all sorts of equipment on it such as pava spray.”
As if this wasn’t exciting enough, the following day, William was taken to where “all of the seized drug equipment” is stored and helped to put it into large plastic bags to be transported to Parkside Police Station in Cambridge.
“Some of the equipment included lights for heating the drugs while they are growing, and fans to cool and dry out the drugs when they have been cut.”
William was delighted to see a man reunited with his missing wallet, which had been handed into Ely Police Station.
“When we said we had got it, the smile on his face was cheek to cheek, he was very appreciative of the people that helped him get his wallet back, and got the name and phone number of the person who handed it in so he could contact them and say thank you.”
On Thursday William accompanied PCSO Maria Robinson on a school safety briefing covering topics such as stranger danger and seeking help from adults.
“She is lovely with kids and was very good at getting them to engage with her and listen to what she was saying to them. On the way home she talked to me about what she does in the community. I think that she is awesome. She’s very kind and the time that I spent with her was lovely, she loves a joke and a laugh and likes to engage in conversation with you.”
On a less happy note, by midday two shoppers had reported having their purses stolen at Ely Market.
“Luckily both of the people cancelled all of their cards so no money could have been taken out of their accounts. Another person came in and said they lost a wallet again today.”
On his final day at the station, William brought in a cake that his mother had baked for the team.
The highlight of his work experience happened 20 minutes before the end – when a blind man and his carer came into the station.
“They told us that he had never felt a police car and would really love to so Sgt Carter and I took them out to the yard where all of the police cars were. The man got to try on the body armour and he even got put in handcuffs, he also got to sit in the police car and even put the lights on.”
William, who hopes to join the force one day, has gained even more respect for the work police do after his week in Ely.
“Everyone I met at the station were very kind and friendly, all of the officers love to have a joke and a laugh with you, if you ever need to report a crime or even if you have just lost or found an item, Donny and Jessica will deal with it, they are very nice and they love to have a chat with the people that walk in, and most of the time the members of the public that have had to report something always leave with a smile on their face; Donny and Jessica do really make peoples’ day and they help them feel safe and secure being the first people in the station they see.”
To read William’s blog click here.