Northamptonshire Police have taken on their first superintendent not to have risen through the ranks.
Emily Vernon is the force’s first ever direct entry superintendent, entering the role having not served as a police officer until now.
Traditionally police officers start out as constables on the beat and rise through the ranks over the years, but in recent years direct entry has been created through the national College of Policing.
But rather than being a new face parachuted in to the upper ranks, Supt Vernon views the process more as a condensed version of what other officers go through.
She faces months on the beat with PCs followed by time back at the college, then more time spent with sergeants and inspectors, before yet more time in college. And she undergoes continual assessment.
She said: “If all goes well I take my exams in 2017 and then in 2018 I will be a qualified superintendent with my own portfolio.”
But just because she is still training, does not mean she lacks powers. She said: “I attested as a constable the other week, so I can arrest people now. It’s now learning how to use those powers effectively.”
Although she is new to being a police officer, her love of the criminal justice system stretches far back. She has a degree in law, and a post-graduate qualification in crime and criminal justice.
Supt Vernon said: “After university I worked for the National Crime Squad, and Cambridgeshire and Staffordshire police in civilian roles. I spent eight years at the National Police Improvement Agency - which went on to become the College of Policing.”
Supt Vernon said she decided to make the move and become an officer because although civilian staff make a huge contribution by supporting officers and helping the public, she wanted to be able to make a difference at times when incidents are happening.
Adding that the new direct entry route meant she could bring her knowledge and skills of a more strategic point of view straight into the police, but that at the same time the training she will receive and the time spent out on the beat will form a key part for her.
She said: “I don’t want to come in and impose ideas from the top.
“I’m looking forward to spending time out on the streets because it will allow me to learn the culture of this force, see how things are done.”
Supt Vernon added: “It’s also important to me to provide positive role models for others, particularly young girls who don’t have that many great role models.”