England youth international Olivia Smith signs for Essex Police
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As England get ready to take on Scotland, we can exclusively reveal that footballer Olivia Smith has swapped the Three Lions for the three seaxes after becoming a police officer with Essex Police.
Olivia, or PC Smith as she is now known, won 16 England caps at Under-16 to Under-19 levels and has played for Chelsea and West Ham.
The cultured 21-year-old defender spent last season at Charlton Athletic in the Women’s Championship and is now looking for another club at that level so she can combine her football and police careers.
Olivia completed her 18-week initial training course at Essex Police College after deciding on a change of direction away from the professional game and is now a member of Grays Local Policing Team.
Olivia began playing football at the age of nine and got her big break at 15 when she was offered terms by both Chelsea and Arsenal after trials.
After four years at Chelsea she left for America with a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. After a year there, she transferred to the University of Central Florida for six months.
However, with the season in America only lasting three months, Olivia returned to the UK to play professionally.
After signing for West Ham, she left for London Bees to get more playing time but then started to look at options away from football.
A transfer to Charlton reignited Olivia’s passion for the game but she’d already applied to join Essex Police.
Olivia said: “I went down a path where I wanted to give up football and thought, what can I do now? I always had a passion for forensics and wanted to become a detective, so I applied to Essex Police. I’m really happy I did apply because I love it.”
So, since January, she’s managed a challenging schedule of full-time police training alongside football training three nights a week, with games at the weekend against teams including Liverpool, Leicester City and Sheffield United.
Olivia believes that the qualities she’s developed as a footballer will stand her in good stead for a career with us.
“I’m really dedicated to everything I do,” Olivia said. “You have to be with sport. You have to put in a lot of time and effort. It’s a lot of commitment and dedication and I feel that I can now put commitment and dedication into another source.
“There are so many different career pathways with the police and I wanted a career where I wouldn’t get bored easily and had a goal. I feel with the police you can always progress and, for me, it’ll be good to always have something to aim high for. I strive to be the best in everything I do.”
Now Olivia has completed her training, she is considering potential careers with the firearms team or the dog unit after they gave presentations to our new recruits.
“When people are so passionate about their jobs, it’s really inspiring,” Olivia added.
If Olivia’s story inspires you, why not consider signing up with her?
If you want to help people, keep them safe and tackle crime in Essex, why not become part of our Essex Police family and use your skills to make a big difference in communities across our county. We’re recruiting now, so just visit www.essex.police.uk/fitthebill for more details.