I currently work in Learning and Development, assessing trainee detectives. I started this role in January this year after spending nearly a decade investigating sexual crimes in Crime and Public Protection.
I won the Essex Police Supporting Vulnerable People Award in 2018 whilst working on our Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT).
I was the officer leading on a case where a man had abused three young boys in Clacton in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the victims had initially reported the abuse in 1983 and no further action was taken – he felt he was not believed by officers and it led to him having a poor relationship with the police in later life.
After my investigation, which ended in 2018, the offender was sentenced to 18 years in prison for thirteen counts of sexual offences against the victims.
The victim wrote that I had given him back his word after 35 years – that I was friendly and in no way judgemental. He sent flowers to the police station, one bouquet for me and one for my mother. It said on the card: ‘DC Atkins-Calver’s mum, you created a legend’.
Knowing I have made a difference to him and restored his faith in the police means a lot to me, as I joined the police to help people.
Outside of work, my biggest achievements are my children. I have a nine-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son, who is severely deaf. I have managed to be a mum and have a career in Essex Police, even recently passing my Sergeants exam. I’m also Level 2 qualified in British Sign Language to help my son with his communication.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
In my current role I love being able to share my knowledge and experiences with trainees to help mould the detectives of the future.
I have always been very victim-focussed and spending 10 years on Public Protection, I have supported the most vulnerable people within society. Working on CAIT was the most fulfilling role I have had - safeguarding children and working with partner agencies to lock up those who abuse children.
I am also a Family Liaison Officer for the force and have worked to support the families of victims on a number of high-profile local murders over the years.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
This is important to me both outside and inside of work. My son is deaf, and people’s awareness and understanding of his disability is crucial.
All people should be treated as equals and having the same opportunities – although it’s great to have differences, this shouldn’t be a negative thing. I want my son to just be seen as a teenager. His disability shouldn’t define him or hold him back.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
There were no barriers for me when joining Essex Police. After having my son, I returned to work part-time and have managed to combine having a career within the police with being a mum.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
Today’s society is open-minded, accepting and values difference. It is important that Essex Police continues to mirror this.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I have been fully supported throughout my career. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside many female role models – like DCI Hayley King – in my time at work.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
My current role as an assessor is very flexible and fits around my children. I am getting the opportunity to train new officers on my passion, which is still Crime and Public Protection, alongside assessing trainee detectives.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
Do it. I have honestly loved every minute of being a police officer. Being a woman, mum, and being part time has not stopped me – nor have I felt at a disadvantage.
Every day as a police officer is different – there is opportunity to specialise or go for promotion.
You are helping the community, making a difference and I am proud to say I am a police officer within Essex Police.