Meet Chief Inspector Tina Cooper, she is the District Commander for Brentwood and Epping.
Since transferring to Essex Police in 2022, she has been able to advance her career as well as her studies.
We spoke to her about why she transferred to Essex Police, what advice she might have for someone thinking about a career in policing and the work she is doing to support victims of domestic abuse.
Can you tell us about your current role and any other roles you’ve held?
I am currently the District Commander for Brentwood & Epping.
I transferred to Essex Police in October 2022 from the Metropolitan Police Service (MET) where I worked for just under 18 years. I spent most of my career with the MET working as part of the response teams having started as a constable and finished my time there as an Inspector.
I also spent eight months working in the Professional Standards unit after being assaulted on duty and not being able to be operational for a period of time, due to having shoulder surgery.
I have been involved in community policing and working closely with a Domestic Abuse (DA) charity doing some great work alongside DA survivors.
Essex Police gave me an opportunity to advance my career, and I am the first in my family to join Essex Police. I was ready for a new challenge; I have managed to get out of my comfort zone since joining Essex Police.
I am also the only Portuguese Officer of rank in Essex I believe.
When and why did you join the police?
I have always wanted to be a police officer; I started my career in June 2005 when I was 23 years old.
It had been my dream since being very young, I guess I have always been lucky to know that is what I wanted to do so early on.
I joined because I felt that I could make a difference and because I wanted to help people.
What is the most rewarding part of the job or the part you enjoy the most?
What I have enjoyed the most is being able to create a positive change in our communities and in particular the work I have done with the DA charity Thrive based in Epping. I have helped set up boxing and life skills classes for victims to help rebuild their self-esteem and confidence.
I have set up some self-defence classes for women and girls across both Brentwood and Epping. To be able to see the impact this work is having is brilliant.
How has being a police officer changed your life?
I came to the UK when I was 10 years old, I didn’t speak English and left school with a few GCSE'S. Thanks to the investment in me by Essex Police I am doing a master's degree at Cambridge in criminology and police management alongside my day job. It has been while studying that I have found out that I am dyslexic which has led me to understand why I find some things challenging. The force has been incredibly supportive and helped me with it.
Outside of work I am a Mum of three and proof that you can have a career despite challenges, you can start as a PC and work up the ranks or specialise.
Have you gained any other skills or qualifications that have helped you in your role?
A skill I brought with me into policing was my language skills. To have the ability to speak to someone in their native language can really help build relationships with our communities and break down barriers.
I have also completed a coaching and mentoring course which allows me to help and support my colleagues.
I have been able to learn lots of new skills since becoming a police officer from response driving, incident management, and public order training.
As mentioned, I am studying for my master's degree with the support of Essex Police.
Can you offer any advice for new recruits?
Policing is a great career, there are so many roles you can do in Essex Police.
It is an extremely challenging but also very rewarding job. Believe in yourself and your abilities and don’t let anyone discourage you from applying to become a police officer or progressing your career once you do join.
There will always be challenges but you can overcome these with the right support.
Do you fit the bill?
At Essex Police, we value difference, and know that we’re strongest when we all work together.
If you share our values and want to protect and serve our communities, why not join us?
If you think you could protect and serve the people of Essex, either as a police officer, member of staff or volunteer, why not see if you fit the bill?