Sergeant Phillippa Pirie
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am one of five Local Policing Sergeants for the Maldon district. I supervise a fantastic team on A shift. I have recently joined this role, having spent the last 18 months supporting the North Command Team. I joined Essex Police as a Constable in 2009 and have worked my entire career on the front line throughout the Southend, Basildon and Chelmsford districts.
My biggest achievement in work so far was studying for my Sergeant’s exam, whilst working full time and balancing my home life as a full-time single mother. The determination paid off when I was promoted at the beginning of the year.
My biggest achievement outside of work is raising my daughter on my own – she keeps me on my toes and keeps me grounded and reminds me why I do the job that I do. I enjoy the fact that my personal circumstances inspire other female officers within the police service, for them to strive for what they want, no matter how difficult or challenging it can be.
My hobbies include hiking, gardening and spending time with my friends and family.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I find that my roles provide many positives for me. Firstly, I love the fact I can use my position to lead my team: using their skill sets to get the best out of them, developing them to the best of their potential, supporting them with however they require, using my experience to help them.
Secondly, I love the variety that my role provides. I see the hashtag #JobLikeNoOther and it really is. I also love the fact that we don’t know what we will be coming into every day when we start a new shift. The buzz of going home and knowing you have made a difference to someone’s life is something you can’t find in many other job roles.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Diversity and inclusion is like a golden thread which runs through our service and our communities. It’s what can bring a team, workplace and a community together.
Having a more diverse work force creates a better work force. It enables us to recognise a person’s abilities, whether that be in disability, gender or age. It also eliminates any unfair barriers and adds skillsets that perhaps wouldn’t have been added.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
I wouldn’t say that there were any barriers to joining Essex Police, however I noticed that when I was a probationer it was very male dominated. I was fortunate to work with some fantastic officers, who I am proud and lucky to still call my friends and colleagues today. There were many times when I was the only female officer on a team and the only barrier to this was that I didn’t have the opportunity to watch female officers go for promotion. The result of this was that I perhaps didn’t realise the ability in myself for some time. I’m glad this has changed now.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
It is so important for our force to value difference because the public we serve and protect are made up of so many characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion and disability. It is important for our police service to represent the same characteristics within our communities. Those with different backgrounds have different skills, strengths, experiences to bring to the force to enhance us as a service, to keep that public engagement as strong as possible.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
Essex Police has supported me in my work life as well as my home life. I have been fortunate to work for, and alongside, some of the best leaders within the force.
I have been supported in my aspiration to climb the ranks as well as supported in my other role as a mother. We have the Women’s Leadership and Development Forum which I have been able to join and be inspired by. I have been fortunate enough to listen to other female leaders about the challenges they have faced during their career and how they have overcome them. This enables me to keep that focus and determination as a strong female leader.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
The Local Policing Team are the first point of contact for every call made to 999. We respond to anything from a mental health incident to a serious and violent incident, violent domestic incidents, concern for welfares, burglaries, missing persons. We are the very first person to arrive in the most desperate time of need for someone.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
Don’t ever think you can’t join because of your personal circumstances. Essex Police wants to support their officers to get the best out of them. If you are a woman reading this, at home with children and you think you can’t do this job, then you are wrong. You can. It is never too late to join.