In the latest Behind the Badge we catch up with PC Chris Lewis, a plain clothes officer who works on the North West Predatory Offenders Unit in South Harrow.
What is your role?
I’ve been a police officer for five years and currently I’m attached to the North West Predatory Offenders Unit based in South Harrow. Our role is to locate, arrest and investigate high harm offenders to bring dangerous individuals to justice. We work closely with a number of other units including those investigating domestic abuse, sexual offences and child sexual exploitation.
During my service, I’ve worked on response team, safer neighbourhoods, schools, the sexual offences and child abuse team, and as an instructor for new constables. I am an LGBT+ advisor and public order trained in addition to my current role and I was a (voluntary) Special Constable for two years before I joined.
Why did you become a police officer?
I always wanted to be a police officer since I was a little kid – I remember my mum telling one of the senior leadership team that as a toddler I would never be seen without my toy police helmet (much to my embarrassment!). As I got older I was attracted to the thought of doing something that made a difference, and helped people.
What are the difficult things in your job that the public may not realise?
The hardest part of the job is definitely the mental toll. Frustration, abuse, long hours, some of the unpleasant tasks we face and traumatic events we witness all add up. I’d also argue that sometimes there is a lack of recognition when good work has been done.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
I think the that the satisfaction that what we do matters, on some occasions we really do make a different to people’s lives – it’s a great feeling. The camaraderie, along with the stories and anecdotes you collect really make this a job unlike any other.
What advice would you give to people thinking of joining the Met?
For anyone wanting to join the Met, just remember it’s not always as exciting as TV and film make it seem! Work hard and be keen. Always be honest and fair in your dealings with both the public and colleagues. Finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; they are a part of life. If you are acting with good intentions, most things can be resolved and mistakes are how we learn.
One more thing about me…
Outside of work, I’m a drummer, and have played on stage at the UK’s largest punk festival in 2015, along with many other gig venues across London (such as the Dublin Castle, and the now-demolished 12 Bar club, which older readers may remember). I was also an uncredited extra in the film “Final Score”, playing on the pitch at Upton Park (West Ham’s old ground) whilst Pierce Brosnan and Dave Bautista battle it out in the stands.