PC Jen Mayes
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am an officer in the Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Team. This is a new role within Essex Police which aims to reduce the risk of serious harm to repeat and serial domestic abuse victims in Essex by supporting victims and empowering them to make positive changes and move forward. I am passionate about my work and am particularly interested in domestic abuse within the LGBTQ+ community and also how abuse is often normalised in our older community.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family (I’m a mum of six and grandma of five!), running, doing weights, baking and reading. I’m always busy and like I said in interview when asked why I wanted to join Essex Police, ‘I may be in my 50s but I’m not dead yet!’ Joining and serving on the front line for the first two years was one of my biggest achievements. I’m very proud to work for Essex Police, serving the community I grew up in.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
What I enjoy most about the role I am in now is empowering victims and giving them the tools and knowledge to make positive changes. I also get to meet lots of different people, and no two days are ever the same.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
When I decided to join Essex Police I was 50 years old. Many employers would have looked at the number on the page and written me off before even looking at me but I never felt I was treated any differently throughout the recruitment process or during my training. I got called Ma’am a few times when I was in training school which made me giggle because people looked at my face not my collar number but it’s nice to think they were focusing on me and not the number I wore on my shoulder. I was recruited as an individual and treated as one of the team by both officers and colleagues. My age was never an issue.
Diversity is important. We each bring with us different experiences, skills and expertise. We can learn from each other and from our wider community. Promoting diversity is the first step to not just tolerance but true inclusion and acceptance. Different life experiences can shed light on lives different than your own and provide new perspectives. When individuals contrast their struggles, needs, and values with someone else’s, they can really begin to comprehend where an individual is coming from and empathetically understand their attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs at a deeper level.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
I didn’t feel there were any barriers.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
Being different is good! I’ve always told my kids this. Having a strong sense of identity and wellbeing both individually and as a team, with diverse strengths, abilities, interests and perspectives is conducive to creativity, innovation and adaptability, all qualities which are needed to be a well-rounded officer and understand our diverse and constantly changing society.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
The one thing I found difficult was getting used to using computers! Computers weren’t even a thing when I was at school; I think the spectrum was just being talked about when I left so I hadn’t really had that much to do with computers. My younger colleagues were always helpful when I got stuck but when it started causing me a bit of stress I talked it over with my bosses and got the help I needed from experienced colleagues for a few weeks, which left me feeling much more confident and able to do my role.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
I often hear people say that they would have liked to join the police but they’re too old now. Nonsense! Just go for it! You might just make a difference.