90 Seconds with Superintendent Gavin Wong
Role: Police Officer – Superintendent / LPA Commander Slough
Age at joining: 27
Length of service: 26 years and I love it as much now as I did on my first day
What inspired you to join the police?
A degree in Business initially led me into a career in Sales & Marketing with Rank Xerox where I had a million pound sales target and did fairly well, but never felt completely fulfilled. Sometimes I used to dread getting up for work and I can honestly say since becoming a Police Officer I have never had that feeling. My sales career did give me some useful skills though; being able to listen and talk to people and emotional awareness.
What were your aspirations when you joined?
I was really open-minded, I hoped to become a detective – but other opportunities along the way presented themselves and I have primarily spent my career in uniform, in operational policing. My ambition was to reach Superintendent and I did achieve that faster than I anticipated.
What has your policing journey looked like?
I started my career as a PC in Slough, I then worked at Sulhamstead our training centre for a time before eventually becoming an Inspector back at Slough. Following that I spent 6 years as an Inspector on our Protection Group, providing armed security to Royalty and VIPs and also working big events like Ascot and State Visits. I was trained in firearms, close protection and have completed advanced driving courses which were exciting and fun. I am now the LPA Commander at Slough and feel incredibly proud to be the commander of the place I started policing.
How do you feel about the training and development you’ve had?
I have been really well supported by the organisation in terms of development and opportunity. I had access to mentors and coaching. In my current role as commander I enjoy being in charge, having accountability and responsibility but also being able to encourage and influence development in others. I am half Chinese and as a BAME officer I have never felt disadvantaged because of my background – rather I have seized every opportunity for personal development.
What are the most challenging aspects of policing?
When you are dealing with a death, that can be really tough but policing gives you the skills to deal with pretty much anything. Less things faze you. The sheer volume of work can feel daunting but you get through it – I have felt tired after a tough shift but never not motivated. I have never not wanted to go to work.
What would your advice be to new recruits thinking about their career options?
Join with an open mind. Be prepared to work hard. There are so many opportunities to get promoted or specialise. Your aspirations may change over time – pathways present themselves that you didn’t initially consider. The diversity of opportunity is huge. We are fortunate that TVP is a force big enough to offer regular promotional opportunities, that isn’t the case everywhere.
What three qualities do you think make a good officer?
Being a good team player is important – you are rarely on your own and your team can pull you through the bleakest situations. Resilience, you’ll face challenging times and there are times when things haven’t gone my way. However, you learn to cope with adversity and tough situations. Integrity. Policing isn’t for the half-hearted, if you really want to do this job you will work hard and find it hugely rewarding both personally and in the support you provide for your communities.
If you have been inspired by Gavin’s experience we encourage you to contact TVP’s Positive Action & Engagement Team: firstname.lastname@example.org