A Global Career: from 999 Calls, to NATO, to The Gambia
Thanks to Chris Jagger for this issue of the Mightify Success Stories Series.
When did you decide to leave, and why?
Two years of shift work at New Scotland Yard left me wondering what life would be like as a normal 9-5iver. During my time with the Met, I’d been exposed to a bigger world than I’d previously imagined. My dad, who had retired from the Met Police (Special Escort Group) a few years before I joined as a civilian, sent me scanned copy of an advert for the National Criminal Intelligence Service and encouraged me to apply. I suppose I fancied changing out my light blue ‘civi’ pin-stripe shirt, for a dark blue pin-stripe suit.
What are you doing now?
The Gambia suffered a 22-year authoritarian dictatorship but now has a democratically elected President. My role is to advise the President and his cabinet on how to reform the security sector. My portfolio covers the establishment of a national security vetting agency, the creation of the country’s first counter terrorism strategy, intelligence reform, as well as running large scale multi-agency crisis management simulations. It’s a challenging and fun job.
What had you been doing in the police?
The ‘Information Room’ at New Scotland Yard hired me in 1998 as a communications officer. My role was to handle emergency calls for the police. I was exactly 18 years old when I started and had much to learn. Surrounded by experienced officers, IR was a wonderful place to start out a career – especially for someone who chose to attend University later in life.
How did you find another job?
I’ve always been lucky to have held roles and work with teams that bring the best out in me. Nearly all of my roles have led to one-another through chance rather than choice. Prior to working for the Metropolitan Police I’d spent a year working at an aquatic marine centre cleaning fish tanks and catching tropical fish; it was a fun job, so much to learn, but paid in peanuts. I left NCIS in 2002 on secondment to the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Kosovo. That job introduced me to NATO – where I was recruited from 2005 until 2011. I then returned to what had become the Serious Organised Crime Agency before resigning and forming my own company – 2creatEffects.
What do you miss? What don't you miss?
I try not to miss anything although if there was something it would be shift work! I remain in touch but socially and professionally and will always feel a part of the UK security community.
What advice would you give others?
No matter who you work for, employers have a habit of consuming our most valuable resource - time. So, wherever you find yourself working, try and seek out the positive, look for opportunities to grow, learn from your colleagues, and use the role to help those around you. Don’t allow any job to limit you or box you in. Take pride in your work and aim for professional – even if the job is seemingly simple.
Chris held three senior roles at NATO and is the author of the book 'Escorting the Monarch' - the history of the Met Police Special Escort Group. It was launched at Kensington Palace with a foreword by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.