Meet Inspector Vince Osborne, he is retiring after 35 years' service with Essex Police. He is one of our longest serving officers within the Force Control Room and we spoke to him about his extensive career and asked him what advice he would give to anyone thinking about policing as a profession.
Can you tell us about your current role and any other roles you’ve held?
I joined Essex Police 35 years ago; I spent the earlier part of my career in Clacton and Colchester.
After 14 years with Essex Police, I joined the Force Control Room (FCR) and never looked back. In July 2009 I became the first ever Oscar 1 for the force, this is a key role within FCR. We co-ordinate all the incidents that come into the force, making sure that we are being effective and efficient in helping all those who need us.
I believe I am the longest serving Inspector in Essex to still be working all the different shifts. From the late shift working through the night to early mornings and everything in-between.
When and why did you join Essex Police?
I joined Essex Police on the 50th anniversary of D-day in 1994 at the age of 28.
Before joining I had completed an apprenticeship in engineering; one of my friends had joined the police and told me how great it was. This persuaded me to sign up and I am so glad that I did.
I started as a Special Constable to see if policing would be the right career for me. It helped me gain a good understanding of the role and realised this was the career I wanted, and soon after I signed up to be an officer full time.
What is the most rewarding part of the job or the part you enjoy the most?
I think Oscar 1 is one of the most challenging and demanding roles in the force. We need to almost have all the answers as we need to be able to make the big decisions, which requires you to have a really good knowledge about the force. The FCR is the ‘beating heart’ of the force, part of my role is to support and motivate my colleagues to resolve incidents, help the victims, and get the job done.
No two days are the same.
I was on duty during the London riots in 2011, which had a big impact on Essex, I received a phone call from the Met Police at 8pm requesting support from Essex Police. I was also on duty on the day Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died.
I have been involved in lots of different situations over the years, but the most intense one was when we received a call reporting a kidnapping. Our call taker received information that there was a hostage in a van at gunpoint, I was on duty at the time as a tactical armed officer and co-ordinated our response. We needed to locate the van and make the response team aware of the van’s every single movement so they could catch up with them. It ended up in a high-speed pursuit at 90mph!
This type of incident would normally have been managed by our Firearms Team but due to the importance of helping the victim and how quickly things were escalating, FCR played a huge part in the unfolding incident.
Although some of the incidents we deal with can be so surreal, it is such an amazing feeling when you know ‘the bad people’ have been caught. The victim who was being held hostage in the van was safe, the suspects had been caught, and it was a good day in the end.
How has working for the police/being a police officer changed your life?
Working for Essex Police has given me an extra family, who have supported me both at work and in my personal life.
When my daughter was a baby, she was diagnosed with a heart disease. I needed to take time off to concentrate on my family and the force supported me throughout this period.
There is a vast network at Essex police, you will make life-time friends. It is a job for life.
There are so many opportunities and different jobs, it will never get boring. It’s a career where you can gain lots of skills and always learn something new.
My family and friends have always supported me throughout my career but if you are having doubts about joining the police, there are 6000 friends you gain once you join!
I joined the police when I was 28 years old, it is never too late to change your career.
Have you gained any other skills or qualifications that have helped you in your role?
Though my work I have been able to experience a lot of different things and gained a variety of skills along the way including firearms and tactical training.
Can you offer any advice for new starters/recruits?
When I first joined the police, I was told to consider the victim as your Mum or daughter, and asked; would you have done more?
If the answer is yes, then you need to help the victim more. Always do your best and try your hardest with every single incident.
Essex Police for the past 35 years has been like a second family. No matter who you are, you will fit in. Support is everywhere.
There are so many inspirational people within the organisation, you will constantly learn while on the job and if you do not know the answer, someone will.
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?