Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am an Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for Local Policing at Essex Police.
My best achievements at work include being public order trained throughout my career at every rank.
I’m currently a Gold Commander for public order, for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear incidents) and firearms incidents. I was the first female commander of Operational Policing Command in Essex and loved working in this fast paced and diverse area of policing – from roads policing to dogs, marine, drones and firearms to fatal collision investigations, I was proud to work with such a motivated and innovative team.
My best achievements outside of work include running the London Marathon four times – most memorable occasions with my dad and my husband.
My favourite hobbies include anything to do with sport. I love running and learned to ski a few years ago - I’m hoping one day I can keep up with my husband on the slopes!
One of my unique interests would be renovating and restoring the dusty old farmhouse we purchased a couple of years ago.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy being able to get out and about to see and understand the work of the teams. When I go into stations and speak with officers and staff, I meet some amazing people who go the extra mile to keep people safe and catch criminals. It’s also a great reminder of the diversity of roles that we have, there really is something for everyone, whatever your personality type or approach to work.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Diversity creates a work environment that people enjoy and where they can achieve the best out of themselves. Having different perspectives in a policing team is especially key to deal with the changing challenges we face – it’s so important to question our approach to ensure we’re not just doing what we’ve always done. We deal with a great diversity of people and whilst we’re never going to be able to fully appreciate their issues and concerns, having a workforce that reflects our communities is vital to ensuring those concerns are appreciated and considered.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
Policing requires so many different skills and perspectives, there really is opportunity for people who don’t look or think in the same way as a “traditional” police officer. Whatever your gender, appearance, life experience or approach to situations, the alternative approaches bring new opportunities and different ways of dealing with offenders and developing confidence in our communities.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
Right from the point of joining, I’ve had brilliant colleagues and supervisors who have provided advice, guidance and support. I suffered with mental health early in my career and the support I was provided was just as comprehensive in helping me deal with this as with any workplace challenge. I’ve been lucky to have some outstanding mentors who have encouraged me to push my boundaries and take on roles I’d never otherwise have considered. Most importantly, I’ve made some great friends and have a phone full of contacts I can rely on to provide advice or turn out to respond to an incident at any time of the day or night.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
My portfolio includes interaction with the Essex IAG’s (Independent Advisory Groups). IAG’s are community members, often from underrepresented groups, anything from young persons to someone who is a farmer to one of the more well-known diversity strands. The IAGs are vital in helping us understand views of various groups in shaping both our daily business and when responding to critical incidents. This is an extremely valuable tool and I really enjoy being able to listen to those views and concerns to ensure we are doing the best job that we can do.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
It does not matter what your background, age, ethnicity, faith, gender or sexual orientation is. If you really care about people and want to make a difference, then you can! Being a police officer is varied and rewarding and I would recommend anyone that is interested to apply. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!