DC Mark Ghosh
Tell us a bit about yourself
I have experienced numerous roles across Essex Police, from responding to incidents reported to us by the public and working on our Community Policing Teams, to being a liaison officer between Essex Police, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force and working on CID as a detective.
I have specialised in investigating modern slavery and human trafficking since 2013 and, for the past four years, I’ve been a field intelligence officer.
I am a father to three young children who all have Charcot Marie tooth disease, and I’m also a bass player in a function band (that was quite successful before the pandemic!)
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I thoroughly enjoy being able to work alongside other law enforcement agencies such as Border Force, the National Crime Agency and the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit and charities such as Justice and Care.
Tackling modern slavery and human trafficking depends upon close working relationships between law enforcement agencies and other agencies who are there to safeguard and protect victims.
The work we have accomplished in the past eight years together has seen us identify and disrupt organised criminal groups operating across the UK and internationally. We have also safeguarded and protected numerous potential victims of exploitation.
This experience has allowed me to pass on my learning to newer officers in the hope that it will motivate them to do all they can to safeguard potential victims and ensure that, when we do encounter incidents with elements of exploitation, we are getting it right.
Recently, I managed several modern slavery investigations involving children and young people who were being exploited and forced to work for county lines drugs gangs. I am now seeking to work with Essex schools so we can give children and young people the confidence to report to us anyone who is seeking to exploit them as well as any information they may have about drug-related crime.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
It builds confidence within and trust in local communities that Essex Police represents the communities we serve as a whole.
Essex has large and diverse communities and having a diverse and inclusive work force allows us to better communicate with sections of the community we may otherwise struggle to engage with.
I have seen this operationally on multiple occasions, when officers or staff from different cultural backgrounds have been able to communicate better with potential victims and give them the confidence to know that the police are here to help them.
Although it’s not obvious, half of my family originates from Kolkata in India (hence the surname Ghosh), where some of my relatives worked for the local police force. As a result, my grandfather, who moved to the UK in his young adult years, was very proud that I had joined the police service in the UK.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
Prior to applying for the police, I had never had reason to seek the help of, or engage with, the police service. I had completed Sixth Form and my A-Levels but didn’t want to go to university.
Then, I saw an advert for Essex Police recruiting and my dad suggested I apply – the rest is history!
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
It creates a culture of learning from the experiences of those from diverse backgrounds. Police officers and staff can build a stronger sense of identity when their differences are understood, respected and supported.
Everyone who works for Essex Police or who would like to apply, should feel confident and trust that they are valued, that their life experiences matter and that, regardless of length of service, there is always some learning they can pass on to others.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
During my time as a field intelligence officer, I decided to advance my career by becoming a detective. Although it wasn’t a role requirement, the support I got from the coaches on the force’s Detective Pathway scheme was second to none, from supplying study materials and arranging support for the qualifying National Investigators’ Exam to being there at any time of day for any query while I completed my portfolio. There are very few police forces who offer this level of support for potential detectives.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
I formed part of a multi-agency team which created the policy and work process for the identification of potential victims of trafficking into the UK through UK ports and for Border Force referrals to local police forces and the National Crime Agency.
Initially, the policy and work process was purely for Stansted Airport but it saw such success that it moved on to Southend Airport before being adopted nationally. I am very proud to have been a part of that.
On our first multi-agency deployment in 2017, we encountered a potential victim who had arrived in the UK with a man she claimed was her boyfriend. She had no money, phone or credit cards, had no friends or family in the UK and had never been to the UK before. The only clothes she had was lingerie.
She refused to engage with us and did not recognise that she was a potential victim of exploitation, so, as we could not force her to accept safeguarding, we allowed her to continue her journey with the boyfriend. I worked with the National Crime Agency to have the Metropolitan Police visit the address she gave us.
When the Met Police arrived, they found the boyfriend trying to dispose of drugs. The potential victim asked for help from the police officers and, following the man’s arrest, was then confident enough to tell them that she had been trafficked across Europe, being sold for sex to pay off a debt owed by the boyfriend. She then led the officers to a brothel where officers were able to safeguard further victims who were being sexually exploited. The boyfriend was later imprisoned for four-and-a-half years for various offences.
This piece of work highlighted the importance of multi-agency and partnership working – without that link the story may have ended very differently and I am very proud to have played a part in it.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
When you apply, be open-minded – there are jobs and roles that you would never have imagined existed before joining the police. They range from being responsible for investigating county lines and drug dealing, tackling organised crime, to safeguarding the most vulnerable members of our society.
There are so many possibilities, and that makes it a very exciting time to join Essex Police.