DI Jamie Mills
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Detective Inspector who proudly leads both the Colchester and Clacton Domestic Abuse Investigations Teams in the North Local Policing area of Essex. My teams are responsible for investigating medium and high-risk domestic abuse crimes and work hard to safeguard the victims of those offences.
I have had a varied and enjoyable policing career so far, working in frontline uniform policing roles in the first half of my career, followed by a number of strategic and project based roles, a 12 month secondment to the Home Office and then more recently as a Sergeant and now Detective Inspector in domestic abuse investigations.
I am a police officer with disabilities, but I have learnt that having a disability does not have to be a barrier to a successful policing career. I joined policing as an autistic adult and during my career have been unfortunate to be diagnosed with illnesses such as a liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease which following surgery has left me with an ileostomy, but these things have not stopped me from progressing my career. In fact, in some ways they have been an advantage, providing me with different perspectives to everyday challenges.
I have also been privileged in my career so far to have supported my colleagues in policing across the country and within Essex, formerly as the General Secretary of the Disabled Police Association and now as Co-Chair of the Essex Police Disability network – both of which are voluntary staff support networks.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I thoroughly enjoy being confronted with a situation that requires a solution and being the one to analyse that problem to find a successful resolution.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Quite simply because no two people are exactly the same, which means each and every one of us is diverse. We can only possibly hope to consider all of the different perspectives that being diverse brings by including everyone.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
From my personal perspective I know that starting any career or seeking employment in any walk of life can be difficult for people like me who are neuro-diverse, but being open and honest about who you are helps recruiters to be as accommodating as possible to your needs and they will seek advice on how best to accommodate difference if they are unsure.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
No two people are exactly the same, so to police successfully and with consent of the community it is absolutely essential that we reflect the diversity of our own communities to ensure we understand life from the broadest range of perspectives possible.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I have been supported in a number of ways, but the most important to me has been through the use of reasonable adjustments to ensure that I am valued for the things that I can do at work, rather than being penalised for the things that I can’t.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
If you are unsure about a career in policing with a disability or whether you would be able to apply to join as a police officer, don’t be put off before you have asked the question. No single disability will affect everyone in exactly the same way, so just because you know someone else who wasn’t able to apply, it doesn’t mean this would be the same for you in your circumstance. I would personally advise calling up and having an open and honest conversation with the recruitment team or seeking advice from the forces Disability network or nationally; the Disabled Police Association.