Realising her potential – Police Sergeant Emma Dainty, Dog Handler
As the first ever female Sergeant for the JOU (Joint Operations Unit) Dog Support Unit, Emma has been at TVP for nearly 20 years and had long held ambitions of becoming a Police Dog Handler. We recently had a chat with Emma about her career.
Length of service: 20 years (in November)
Age of joining: 21
Has your career taken the path you expected?
It’s certainly been varied! Following a number of years on Incident and Crime Response (ICR), I completed an Acting Sergeant’s role in the Professional Development Unit and was then a Sergeant in custody at Milton Keynes. Throughout this time I had the opportunity to complete some specialist roles such as Level 2 Public Order, Method of Entry, CBRN, Licensed Search Officer and ANPR, before successfully applying for my dream role as the first ever female Sergeant Dog Handler on the Joint Operations Unit (JOU).
I didn’t expect to get promoted so early on in my career. I absolutely love being a Sergeant, have gained so much experience and have worked with some great officers and supervisors over the years. I knew from day one of joining the police I wanted to be a dog handler. If I am honest, I did not think it would take this long and it has taken a lot of hard work, determination and resilience, but it was absolutely worth it.
What do you love about your role?
Working with the dogs, but especially being able to do this as a Sergeant. I love the rank because I get to go out on patrol to help protect the public, but I also attend management meetings and have inputs on improving the service we deliver. Not only that, but I can help develop officers and manage their welfare, and nothing puts a smile on my face more than seeing officers who I have helped progress in their own careers.
What surprised you about the range of different opportunities available in policing?
I joined the police knowing what I wanted for my career, however I still took the opportunity to look at other areas of policing and this is the best advice I could give. I have seen many officers join with an ambition to go to a department, but ended up taking a completely different path and are equally as successful.
You’ve achieved your goal. Do you still have ambitions for your career?
I would like to move into training at some point and it has always been my goal to retire as a fully qualified Dog Section Training Instructor.
What do you wish someone would have told you at the beginning of your career in policing?
Not to take things personally. This can be difficult when the police get portrayed negatively on social media or in the papers, especially when you have just finished a week of long shifts where you have clocked off late so that you can protect the public to the best of your ability.
What has been your proudest achievement to date?
I have so many achievements to be proud of. Seeing my parents’ faces when I collected my first commendation is something I will never forget. My dad couldn’t have been prouder of me joining the police so this was a special moment.
I am also the first ever female sergeant in the Dogs Section in the history of Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary. If there’s one thing I have learnt, it’s that determination and perseverance pays off and nothing is impossible. I’m so proud to have made history in a department that has been historically male dominated.
What would you say to someone considering a policing career?
It is a great job with so many opportunities, but it is not for the faint hearted. If it’s the right fit, policing can be the best career, you have to make it what you want it to be and take every opportunity that comes your way. If you are unsure, consider being a Special Constable first, so you can have an insight into the role to make sure it’s right for you.
Have you ever wanted to help give service dogs the retirement they deserve? Pensions4Paws is a not-for-profit charity that supports retired Police and Fire Dogs from Thames Valley Police, Hampshire Constabulary, and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Find out more and discover how you can help via the Pensions4Paws website.
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