Making my difference – a conversation with Special Constable Gemma Norville
Special Constable Gemma Norville has been volunteering in policing for over five years. Gemma always wanted to join policing but had developed a career, and being a Special allowed her to do both.
Gemma, what encouraged you to join as a Special?
In my day job, I work as the Head of Technical & Operations for a company making beauty products. I had always wanted to join as a police officer, so being a Special has enabled me to fulfil the desire to join the police, without sacrificing other areas of my life I have worked hard for.
Both roles are quite different!
They are! But, I find being a Special helps me develop unique skills which I bring into my day job and vice versa… being a Special has grown my confidence and helps me work in a way that draws on the strengths of individuals. My day job helped me already have the skills in place when working in high-pressure situations and having good communication – talking to people and understanding different perspectives is important in both my day job and policing.
How do you balance both roles?
I tend to do 25-30 hours per month for the police – although the requirement is only 18. I treat it as a hobby; it never feels like a drag having to go into work! It’s very flexible and works around my main job and personal life well.
Thames Valley Police is proud to be recruiting higher numbers of women as Police Officers than ever before, over the past year almost 50% of our new student officers have been women. How do you feel this affects our work?
Women in policing can really help in certain situations, for example in some cases of domestic violence, or sexual assault, we find a woman victim often feels more comfortable discussing this with another woman. In all of policing, it is important to relate to someone and make them feel we understand how they are feeling.
Having a man and woman crew is very effective. All officers bring important, different, qualities and when put together creates a strong team.
What would you say to someone considering becoming a Special?
Without a doubt, do it! We still have some work to go in balancing our men to women Special Constables so the more difference we can bring into the team the better.
You will meet incredible people – both in the police and on the job. I love the range of experiences that you’re faced with – no single day is the same, which I find a real draw, given that my day job is very structured and similar day to day.
You quickly feel like part of a really special team which becomes a family. More than anything, you always feel like you’re making a difference.
If you have been inspired to become a Special Constable and work alongside our officers, like Gemma, explore how to apply here: Special Constables – TVP Careers