“There is nothing in this world I’ve wanted more” meet Basildon’s newest officer
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PC Libby Keyse, who will be based in Basildon, first applied to be a Special Constable at 18. By 22, she was successful, spending over two and a half years volunteering. Now, PC Keyse, who has always wanted to be a police officer, gets to fulfil her life-long dream. She said:
“I’ve been trying to do this for seven years so to actually get to this point, I’m on cloud nine. I’ve put in so much hard work. I’m partly relieved and partly in disbelief. “I first applied for the Special Constabulary when I was 18, and I wasn’t quite ready to jump in and go for the full PC title. I wasn’t successful and looking back on it, I’m actually grateful as I don’t think I was in the position to join at that age. “I said to myself I would try again when I was in my twenties, so I did, and at 22 I got into the Special Constabulary. I spent just shy of two and a half years in the Specials. I then applied for Regulars and now here I am! “This is the biggest achievement I’ve ever had. I’m 25 now and this is a big deal for me. There is nothing in this world I’ve wanted more. “My parents and my partner have recognised how hard I’ve worked for it and my dad once said to me that it’s impressive as I’ve just had tunnel vision on what I want to do.”
At Essex Police, we are one big family and PC Keyse is thankful for the support she continues to receive from the Special Constabulary. She’s also really proud of what she’s been able to achieve.
“I’ve surprised myself and I’ve done quite well over the exams as I’ve put in a lot of hard work. It’s been nice to see what I’m capable of because I’m putting myself outside my comfort zone and facing fears and things I’m anxious about. Realising I can do this has built my confidence. It’s all about becoming the best version of yourself. “Confrontation has been a big challenge for me. Even before Specials, I’d never been in a confrontational situation, so you have to expect it as it’s part of the job. But, if you’ve never experienced it, you’re not going to know how to deal with it until you’re in the situation. Over time, you learn to manage it a lot better and the training has helped me with that. “And my former Special Sergeant, my former Special Inspector and my friends in the Special Constabulary have been my biggest fans. They are always building me up and when I’m having self-doubt days, I get messages from them to cheer me up. Even during Specials, they were always fighting my corner.”
PC Keyse is most looking forward to protecting and serving Essex, while building community spirit and being the friendly neighbourhood police officer.
“When I was in the Specials, I was in the Community Policing Team, which means you’re dealing with the public a lot, going to community events, speaking with the council and working with them, as well as charities, so being community based is something I want to do. “I’ve always liked the idea that all the young kids know who I am, and I know who they are and to try and get them on our side, as opposed to being against us. I would love for it to be that local bobby-on-the-beat kind of feel. “I’m going to be based in Basildon, so if you see me, come and say hello!”
Before joining the force, PC Keyse trained in many different roles. And, when first applying as a police officer, PC Keyse didn’t realise how many avenues were open to her.
“I’ve done so many different things. I trained to be an accountant, as well as in fashion and textiles, which is completely polar opposite, and at one point I wanted to be a journalist. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be in the police. I can’t pinpoint why, I just wanted to be. “My aunt’s a police officer in Wales, so she’s always inspired me to join the police and I’ve always looked at her and thought that I want to do that job. “When I first started, I wanted to work in the Dog Section, and when I started this course, even as a Special, I didn’t realise how many avenues were available. We had speakers come in from across the force and it opened my eyes up to so much more. You don’t realise how many different teams exist in Essex Police. “Now, I want to leave my options open, try a bit of everything with the attachments, and I might surprise myself with going with something that I’d never considered before.”
As a woman in policing, PC Keyse has some myths to bust if you’re considering joining the force.
“One of the myths about women joining the police is height. Back in the day, you had to be a certain height and build. I’m 5 ft 2 and I’m here, and if I can do it, anyone else can do it. Of course, that myth now has completely gone. Women don’t get treated differently to men and our force is very diverse. “If you want to do it, go for it, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. I’ve been there, I’ve been worried about what people might think of me for joining the police but who cares, if that’s what you want to do, do it. It’s a minority of people that aren’t on the side of the police, compared to the amount of people who are. “There’s no other job like it.”
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