For the June edition of Behind The Badge, Harrow Online caught up with PC Natalie Smith who works in the Brent and Harrow area.
What do you do and how long have you worked for the Met?
I am currently working as part of the North West My Investigation Support Team (Mist) which is also linked with the Response Team. The Mist side of my role consists of investigating crime reports that come in either online or over the phone. The response side of my role consists of responding to emergency and non-emergency calls in the areas of Brent and Harrow. I have been working as a police officer in the Met for four years now.
Both roles come with their own challenges, but I enjoy doing them for different reasons. In one area I get to investigate and help the public with crimes they have been a victim of. In the other area, I am able to be present in person responding to crimes that are happening at that moment.
Why did you join?
I joined the Met for a number of reasons. One of them being that my dad was a traffic officer and I grew up hearing a lot about his role and even coming along with him to work sometimes. I was able to see first-hand what it was like for him and got an idea of what it might be like if I was a police officer. My friend who was also in the job and strongly recommended I do it too. She was able to give me an insight into what modern policing was like and how exciting yet challenging it could be. Lastly, I felt that there was a need for more black female officers. I wanted to actively be the change that people from my background were asking to see more of in the police.
Difficult things about the job?
I’d say the hardest part is the mental strain that I experience in both roles. When investigating crimes you have to ensure that you’re keeping track of everything that needs to be done for each report. For response, there is a lot of thinking on your feet as well as thinking tactically. We are first responders to some pretty serious incidents which require a level of mental and emotional strength. Sometimes it can be challenging but the Met are good at supporting you if you’re struggling in that area.
Most rewarding thing about the job?
I find the most rewarding part of the job is knowing I’m making a change just by showing up to work. Whether I’m in the office investigating crimes or out and about helping victims first hand. I love seeing the positive outcomes of what we do.
Advice for potential recruits?
If you are thinking of joining, make sure you are prepared for the unknown as there are a variety of challenges. But, also surround yourself with people who will encourage you through the challenges. Also remember to be yourself. Even though we all wear the same uniform doesn’t mean we need to be the same person.
Another thing about me…
I always had joining the police at the back of my mind but was reluctant to do so from time to time. I decided to explore things that I might like so that I didn’t just settle for the obvious option of following my dad’s footsteps. During that time, I did a lot of creative work which was what I enjoyed the most. I was writing, acting, editing, directing and leading a team of young actors in my church. I still do some of this on the side now. Exploring my own interests was the best thing I did, as I was able to see if I was best placed somewhere else. However, since joining the police, I now have a rewarding feeling knowing I’m making a change within the service.
Read more editions of Behind The Badge here.