My name is Samantha Brighton, I am 30 years old and 5ft 11. I joined Essex Police in March 2013, at the age of 22 as a Special Constable and later joined as a police staff member in July 2013, initially working as a Business Support Assistant within the Recruitment team. Since December 2015, I have worked in the Crime and Public Protection command within the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) as a Decision Maker, during this time I have also carried out the role as a Senior Coordinator on a temporary basis for a year.
Within my role as a Decision Maker, I am responsible for completing Essex Police system checks on individuals applying to work within regulated activity, in the child and adult workforce sectors. It is imperative to locate information held, analyse it, assess the risk the applicant could pose to either workforce and decide whether the information held is relevant and proportionate to disclose on the applicant’s DBS certificate which will allow the potential employer to put in place any further safeguarding within the workplace.
Recently I’ve become a SPOC (single point of contact) for the Help Forum. The Help Forum is a network to provide Essex Police employee’s with support and advice in a range of different areas including the specialised areas of single parent family, maternity including adoption, paternity, fertility, bereavement, work-life balance, addictions and carers. I am the local contact SPOC covering the Crime and Public Protection Command. My role as a SPOC is to work with Essex Police and external organisations to provide employees with guidance, support, assistance in accessing the correct policies and procedures and signpost to specialist advice and helpful tools. I am very passionate to be part of this network and assist colleagues within the force. The Help Forum is one example of how the force supports their employees.
My biggest achievement is simply becoming part of the Essex Police family. From a young age I knew I wanted to work for the police and from initially becoming a Special Constable, it made me more passionate to do my bit in protecting my local community.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
What I enjoy most about my role is that I am playing a huge part in safeguarding those who are considered the most vulnerable within our communities from individuals who could pose a significant risk to others through the job role applied for based on their previous police involvement or criminal history.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Diversity and Inclusion is very important in all aspects of life. There is so much to be learnt from other individuals through different experiences, opinions and feelings. It is vital to listen to and discuss viewpoints other individuals hold, this can help us all to learn and develop from each other.
As each person’s needs are different, you cannot treat everyone the same however it is important to treat everyone fairly and provide any necessary and appropriate support.
By having a diverse workforce, the organisation is able to understand, support, help and represent those in our communities who as a police force we continuously work to protect.
How do you think Essex Police values difference?
Essex police values difference firstly by recognising and acknowledging each person as an individual with different values, needs and characteristics. Essex Police provide a wide range of support and opportunities to all employees regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability etc. specifically in the form of a range of courses to support development, mentoring, wellbeing and health services and various support networks. I believe Essex Police ensure all employees are felt included and supported in any way they require.
I have Dyslexia which is a recognised disability, this has always presented certain challenges for me within the workplace in various forms however the organisation has always been supportive of this. Having access to use certain equipment, software or being given reasonable adjustments has allowed me to carry out my role more effectively. Having a wider knowledge of dyslexia and the signs of it, I have been able to recognise this in other colleagues who have then taken steps to be assessed and access further support to help them within their role.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
All DBS applications are received by the main DBS based in Liverpool who then send them out to all police forces the applicant has either lived or been known to Police.
DBS have a Standards and Compliance Unit who review work completed by each force including decisions made on information held, time taken to complete applications and the standard of rationales and disclosure texts completed. Essex DBS unit currently hold an ‘outstanding’ rating.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
Essex Police already has a very diverse workforce, bringing together different viewpoints, backgrounds and qualities, I believe this is massively beneficial to the organisation. If you’re considering joining Essex Police as either a Police officer, staff member or volunteer, don’t hesitate, just go for it! You will be fully supported by the organisation.
Don’t let any anxieties or concerns you may have hold you back. I have suffered from anxiety for many years to varying degrees, this has caused low self-esteem and a lack confidence in my own abilities. At times this has held me back in perusing certain goals however since working for Essex Police and using the various resources and support on offer, my confidence and self-belief has improved considerably and inspired me to challenge myself further.