Stuart's story

"I sometimes get the chance to deputise for the Operational Unit Commander. Obviously, it’s a tremendous development opportunity for me."

A typical shift for me involved briefing my team, assigning them tasks and duties, and supervising the arming-up process. This includes issuing and checking firearms, body armour and other equipment.

The tasks I carry out can vary depending on what’s going on. I spend a lot of time managing the team and being there if any of them have any issues. Sometimes, I also get the chance to deputise for the Operational Unit Commander. Obviously, it’s a tremendous development opportunity for me. I get to understand managerial processes and understand things from a more strategic perspective.

Mentoring and developing my team is a key part of my role. I have to try and give them as many opportunities as possible to deepen their understanding and experience. This is especially true with the newer members of the team.

People often ask me how being a police officer in the CNC compares with a Home Office police force. To me, there is no fundamental difference. Policing is policing. The skills you need are exactly the same. I would say the key difference is that when you join CNC, you have to qualify as a firearms officer and carry firearms on duty. The thought of it can be a bit daunting at first, but the training’s so good and involves a lot of one-to-one tutoring from experienced firearms instructors. The standard you need to be at to qualify is very high, but they have a great success rate.

I much prefer the shift system at CNC. It allows you to have many more rest days off in a row. There’s also a lot more interaction with people than I thought there would be. We work closely with the local police force, and I attend regular meetings with them. My site has thousands of people working in it, so it’s like a large community. We also regularly patrol externally, so we have a good relationship with the local community. I think they like having us around!