Motherhood and Policing: Meet ICR Sergeant Emma

Motherhood and Policing: Meet ICR Sergeant Emma

Embarking on a career in policing is a decision laden with purpose. For Emma, joining Thames Valley Police (TVP) as a young Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) was not just about a job – it was about making a meaningful impact in her community. From those early days to her current role as an ICR (Incident Crime and Response) Sergeant, Emma’s journey is a testament to her unwavering dedication and the challenges she has navigated as both an officer and a mother.

Current Role: ICR Sergeant

Age at joining policing: I joined TVP in 2011 at 19 as a PCSO and then became a Police Officer.

Length of Service: 12 years

What attracted you to policing?

From a young age, I was drawn to the idea of being part of something meaningful, something I truly believed in. Joining TVP as a PCSO at a young age felt like the perfect opportunity to make a difference in my community.

How has your career developed at TVP, and are you looking to progress in your career in the future?

My journey with the police began as a PCSO and after 6 years, progressed to becoming a Police Officer. I have thoroughly enjoyed both roles, which have allowed me to develop both personally and professionally. No two days are the same when you are an ICR Officer! Every day brings new challenges, different people to engage with, and skills to learn. Some days can be intense and can really test you mentally and physically, but the outcomes and the team emphasis outweigh the challenges.

Whilst in my role as a Police Officer, I also started a family, and have taken maternity leave to welcome my first born. I returned to work after 4 and a half months of maternity leave and applied for an Acting Sergeant position. I studied for the exam while my baby was 2 months old and successfully passed both the exam and the promotion process. Now, I serve as an ICR Sergeant, being the only substantive woman sergeant on ICR in South and Vale, among 15 sergeants, with only one other woman sergeant. I am highly committed to inspiring more women to consider careers in policing, but also career progression whilst also starting a family. If I can do it, I know other women can do it too!

What are the challenges of being a mum in policing? How has our force supported you as a mum?

As a full-time, shift-working mum, one of the challenges I face is the constant struggle with “mum guilt”. Some days, I miss out on waking my baby up in the morning, while on others, I’m unable to tuck her into bed at night. However, I firmly believe that being at work makes me a better mum, as everything I do is for my child, and her wellbeing drives me to excel in my career. Throughout my pregnancy and maternity leave, I received invaluable support from my line manager and senior management team. Recently, when my baby required hospitalisation for three days, I was grateful to have the flexibility to be by her side during every admission. While the force has made strides in supporting mothers, there’s still more work to be done in this regard, and I’m hopeful for ongoing improvements.

What advice would you give to other women aspiring to balance motherhood and career advancement in a demanding profession like policing?

You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing! I had and still have imposter syndrome but when I get home and cuddle my baby it fades away and I know what I sacrificed to achieve is and will be worth it. I have set boundaries and ensured my support network inside and outside of work is strong.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) is actively looking for people to be the difference they want to see in their communities.

To find out more about a policing career with TVP – including the realities of working on response, initial training, and to apply to become a Police Officer please visit our Police Officer page.