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A response Inspector at Staffordshire Police - who featured in BBC Two documentary Cops Like Us – has revealed how he’d only really been in his Hanley based position for a month when the cameras started rolling.
Jon Ward – who’s now fully settled in with the Northern Response team – says, even after 20 years in the service, it was definitely a unique start to the new role.
“I was actually coming to the end of a 15 month stint as a Force Duty Officer in the Control Room when the original screen tests were being done. The production company would visit me there so that by the time the documentary was commissioned I was ready to go in my new position.
“It’s always challenging starting with a new shift. There are new people to get to know and you have new responsibilities in a different area. It definitely wasn’t easy ingratiating myself into a new system and setting standards as an incoming Inspector whilst being filmed.
“However, in a weird way I definitely think it helped. You always try to behave as naturally as you can when you’re in front of the camera but you’re never fully going to be the same person you are on a normal day at work and we, as a team, knew that. It definitely brought us all closer together and gave us something to focus on and we’re all pretty proud of how we came across.
“Also, credit where it’s due, not everyone wants to appear on camera. As I said, it’s not natural. We go out and do the job that we do and I suppose, when you put on that uniform, you’re used to people looking at you in a different way. We go out there, each and every day to do the best job we can and I think the extremely testing and emotional nature of our job came across – as did how rewarding it can as well.
“I’m under no illusion how hard my staff work because I’m with them on a daily basis. I’m quite privileged, I’ve been in the job 22 years, I’ve got to the rank of Inspector and it’s clear how hard my guys work. They put 100% into everything they do. Some days are good, some days are bad but the good thing about what we do is that you have that constant support during the hard times and that’s what gets us through.
“Am I proud of what we produced on the documentary? Yeah, I am. I’m proud of how the officers came across and even though they were brutally honest I think what came across is that, no matter what, they came into work every day and wanted to do the best they can for the people they serve in Staffordshire. I’m very, very proud of what they’ve done – especially those who showed their true caring character on screen.
“Since the documentary aired, I’ve had so much contact from my circle of friends who are outside the police, family etc who were saying it’s probably the most natural documentary they’ve ever seen on police and that it wasn’t staged or anything like that. It was being compared to other police documentaries which were, dare I say it, a bit cheesier and ours was a different premise. We spoke from the heart and told it how it actually is – warts and all. It was great to have the support of those at the top with this as well – their backing was first class.
“In all honesty, I thought the documentary portrayed our job in a great light as it showcased the best part of working in response which is that no two days are the same. We can say that we go to the same type of incidents but no two incidents are identical. We can come away from work feeling like we’ve made a real difference to people and done our best.
“And I think that extends to Staffordshire Police as a whole too. Each and every one of us across this force go to work and do what we can to ensure people in Staffordshire are well looked after. The documentary has only gone to cement that fact.”