Inspector Terry France joined Durham Constabulary in 1998, aged 27, and now works in our Firearms Licensing Unit.
We caught up with him to ask him a few questions about his career as a police officer.
What did you do before you joined Durham Constabulary? How long were you in that profession and why did you want a change?
I was an engineer (toolmaker). I left school at 16 and completed an apprenticeship with a company called Audus Noble in Blyth from there I worked at Wilkinson Sword and left there to join the police.
Has the job been what you expected?
Yes and more! Working in the most diverse world you can imaging, you see all walks of life, good and bad.
Can you still remember your first shift?
Early days (0545 start in those days) at Catchgate Section office at Annfield Plain. I was nervous about everything - when I went out in the panda for the first time I was petrified!
Can you remember your first arrest?
Catchgate children’s unit – Section 47 assault following a fight between two of the residents.
Do you have any jobs that are particularly memorable to you and why? Good and bad experiences welcome.
I have been public order trained since 1999. Through that time, I have been on numerous deployments including football matches, G8s, G5s, serious disorder (London and West Yorkshire), presidential visits and one of the most memorable was being flown on a privately chartered plane from Teesside to Ireland to bring a terror suspect back to the UK following his escape from HMP Frankland.
How have you found the job fits in with your personal life?
When I joined, I wasn’t married or had kids, so everything fitted in perfectly. Working shifts means you have to make adjustments in your personal life and some things can fall by the wayside. Friends and family will also have to make adjustments and understand that you can’t get to things or have to leave early etc. Remember – you work for the Queen and you have signed a bit of paper that allows the Chief Constable to have control of your worktime.
What advice would you give to other people thinking of applying?
You are a warranted officer and part of a big team – this comes with responsibilities and your behaviour reflects on us all! You have to conduct yourself in a manner that the privilege of being a police officer expects – you will work in the dark, you won’t always finish on time, you work Christmas Day and you can’t always get time off when YOU want it!
If you could sum up the job/your experience in one sentence, what would it be?
No regrets – it’s the best job in the world!