From Special Constable to Detective Constable – Meet Johanna Grant
Johanna Grant joined Thames Valley Police as a Special Constable in March 2022, and through her experiences, has discovered a new, more adaptable side to herself. During her time in the Special Constabulary, she has also taken on the role of a Civilian Investigator and is getting ready for a new challenge as a Detective Constable.
How long have you been with Thames Valley Police?
I joined the Special Constabulary in March 2022, and I started my investigator role in August (after passing the test in July).
What do you do when you’re not volunteering as a Special?
I’m a Police Staff Investigator in the Domestic Abuse Unit. My role is to support detectives with their inquiries, which can range from obtaining statements or collecting CCTV, to attending court on their behalf. It’s a fast-paced department and I really enjoy the role. Outside of work I also take part in jujitsu, which is also run by Thames Valley Police every Thursday night.
How did you first learn about the Special Constabulary, and what motivated you to sign up?
One of my teachers was actually a Special Inspector alongside being the head of the department. I was kind of inspired by that because I’d never heard of the Special Constabulary.
Then during my undergrad I had a mentor who was a DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) at TVP. He provided insights into his world which helped me get interested in the field. I was able to go on a ride-along and expose myself to the policing world and really enjoyed it.
Is there anything in particular about that ride-along that convinced you that being a Special was something you wanted to do?
I think it was the adrenaline you get when you’re on that call and you don’t know what to expect. It’s the unknown, and it’s exciting.
Have you learned anything or developed any skills in your work as a Special that you’ve taken into your day job or other aspects of your life?
Being a Special has helped me be more adaptable and flexible in handling situations. You need to deal with issues straight away, and you have to think on the spot and adapt. You could be dealing with one incident and then have to completely change to something else the next moment. You never know what situations you’re going to come across.
Have there been any memorable situations you’ve dealt with, or anything that really sticks in your mind?
There are so many, but one instance that springs to mind is when I helped an older lady with dementia locate her house and get her settled in. I submitted the relevant protection forms and contacted her next of kin to ensure her safety in the future. I think that’s just one example where I feel like I’ve actually made a difference in someone’s life.
You’re about to embark on a career as a Detective – what was it in particular that motivated you to pursue that role?
Having a civilian police staff role and being a Special, it’s kind of merging the two roles together. I’ve enjoyed my current staff job but I want more responsibility – becoming a detective offers that. If I wasn’t a Special, I wouldn’t have had the policing experience or known what it’s like to wear the uniform. Being a Special first allowed me to have a different perspective, and it encouraged me to pursue this path to become a DC. So, being a Special has definitely encouraged me in that direction.
What are you looking forward to the most as a Special Constable transitioning to a DC?
As an investigator I’ve mainly worked in domestic abuse, and dealt with low-level crimes as a Special, such as shoplifting or submitting protection orders. I’m looking forward to exploring different departments like PCT, CID, or even major crime. I’m excited about experiencing different aspects of the police force beyond domestic abuse.
What would you say to someone considering joining as a Special?
This might sound cheesy, but it’s the best decision you’ll ever make. The difference you can make in the local community, as well as your own personal development, is phenomenal. I’m a completely different person than I was even half a year ago. I’ve grown in confidence as an individual, and its helped guide me toward a career path that will hopefully suit me much better than my previous career in pharmacy.
You learn so much about yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, and you meet so many new people. I’ve met some incredible people working in the police force.
Could you give up your free time to make a difference and help protect your community? Recruitment for the Special Constabulary is open now. Learn more on our Special Constable page and apply today.