PC Lauryn Harris
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a 20-year-old Police Officer, currently working in the control room as a call taker. My biggest achievement was being a Special Sergeant for Chelmsford before joining full time. Some of my hobbies involve watching every episode of Police Interceptors I can find, boxing, karate, and hiking in random parts of the county.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
What I enjoy most about my role is that this is my little dream come true. I’m able to go home and know I’ve done something to make a change and knowing that I’m the reason someone feels listened to or feels safe and even comforted means the absolute world to me.
I also enjoy putting on my uniform and having that moment where you can say, finally after so many years of dreaming about this, I’m doing it. I already feel fulfilled.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Diversity and inclusion are so important in and outside of the workplace because it means lots of people with different backgrounds, childhoods, mindsets, can add in their thoughts and tailor our service to different groups of individuals. Our new campaign sees different people, age, height (even 5 foot tall people like me!), ethnicity, joining up and showing Essex that you don’t have to be a certain stereotype to be an officer, you just have to be willing to put your heart into making a change.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
I didn’t pass my exam the first-time round, and it was heart-breaking because I was a Special Constable and it felt like someone had told me I’ll never make it. I had to convince myself to try it again and build up my confidence again to go back out to Chelmsford and carry on policing. My own self-esteem and lack of confidence was my barrier, so much that when I found out I passed second time round I cried for about 3 hours.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
It is so important that our force values differences like height, age, gender, personalities, thought patterns etc, because everyone has a little something they can throw in to improve this system. When the public see that we have young people, shorter people, women, it can really inspire them to realise that it does not matter how different you are to the mainstream population, you can be a great officer. Personally, I find it so refreshing to see lots of different people in the policing community, everyone has their own way of policing and their own personalities and ideas with that.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I’ve been in the policing family since age 15. I started as a Cadet, then a Special and then to a PC. Essex Police has always supported me, from things like chatting to me after traumatising jobs to check I was processing what had happened, having open days such as at FCR (the Force Control Room) so we could see how different parts of the police system work together to provide you with our service, to even approaching me to do this campaign to ensure I can prove to you that if you’re 5 foot, you live at home and you’re still obsessed with The Bill you can still achieve your dream job.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
Something interesting about my role is that there are so many organisations and people within itself. For example, our own charities and offices. So many people help to make Essex police what it is and keep it running. To this day, I’m still seeing areas of the police on my computer that I have no idea about, reading them and being truly amazed at them.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
My advice to anyone thinking of joining is if you are anything like I was before I started, quite shy and very young, is to go and speak to a Police Officer. Get chatting, visit a station, apply. Nothing should keep you from doing your dream job. Don’t try and be anyone else, because trust me, you have something very unique and interesting to bring to the table.