Mightify Success Stories Series: Alan Wilson
When did you decide to leave, and why?
It started back from me in 2011 when I saw what the government was doing to the Force and I saw the way they were tearing us up and the crazy changes they wanted to implement. That was the first time I thought that I wouldn’t make my 30 years, previously I was signed up for life. Then in 2016 I came to the point I had had enough, for so many reasons. I don’t want to badmouth the Police and I think any officer/ex-officer knows what’s wrong with this force these days and I am no different. We know that unfortunately it’s turned in to a terrible job and only getting worse. Which I genuinely feel is such as shame, it could be one of the best jobs in the world, it was for a while, then so much changed. If anybody approached me about joining the Force, I would have a long hard chat with them, making sure they really knew what they were signing up to.
What are you doing now?
I work as an Investigations Manager for a Tech company in London, specialising in Threat Management.
What had you been doing in the police?
I started on a response shift in Colchester, moving onto a beat officer in Mersea for a few months, before coming back into Colchester and then joining a Proactive Unit for the south of Colchester, which was probably my most enjoyable time as a police officer. We worked hard but the work was so rewarding. We had a lot of autonomy to be proactive and find jobs, which being the sort of officers we were, that seemed to attract trouble and we found a great deal of work. I then had my first child and decided I couldn’t work all the hours I was, and I wanted to see her. So, for my last 6 years I worked on Special Branch.
How did you find another job?
Crazily, it was the first job I applied for. It was a very innocuous advert on Indeed, what advertised for a Global Investigator working for a company called Pinkerton. The advert was so basic that it intrigued me, and I decided that it was either going to be amazing or terrible job. But the cryptic advert really intrigued me, and my instincts believed there was a gem behind this advertisement. From there I researched into Pinkerton and, loving history, was even more excited about working for the company. I learned that I would be contracted to work for the Tech company, as a Pinkerton employee. I would cover investigations for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. I was working as part of a global team, but I mainly concentrated on EMEA cases. Then after a year as a contractor I was taken on by the Tech company and carried on my work as an investigator. Then, after a few months I was lucky enough to be chosen for promotion.
The work is amazing, and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel loads and meet so many amazing people. The work I do makes such a difference to the employees, the sort of difference I joined the Police Service for, unfortunately, soon realising in the police I wouldn’t.
What do you miss? What don't you miss?
Like most people I miss the team, the fact you have people so close you put your lives in each other hands. The fact you can have such a family that bonds together, especially when things are going bad or an officer is being attacked. I also miss the blue light runs, loved driving fast through traffic.
I don’t miss the politics, from inside and out. The ridiculous hours, that you often don’t get a choice in doing. I don’t miss my children being worried if I would get hurt, having to lie to them that Daddy is indestructible.
What advice would you give others?
I really struggled with the thought of leaving, I had become institutionalized. I don’t have any form of qualifications, I have no trade, all I ever wanted to be was a Police Officer. As far as I was concerned, I had no real skills and I could not think what I would do without retraining in something new.
Then I started to write my CV and realised just how much I had to offer. I had an abundance of skills from communication on every level, preparing paperwork that would go to the highest court in the land, to working as a team, unsocial hours, under stress, over worked, so many things.
I thought a police officer as the pinnacle of what I could get, I along with a lot of others, I used jobs as a stepping-stone to get to the police. The thought that the police could be a steppingstone for an even better job never occurred to me.
I am honest to say I never knew of the world outside and the possibilities. I am happy to say its massive, with lots of possibilities. More so the fact so many companies want police/ex-police officers due to all our skills. We really are so highly sought after. So many companies want officers on their Investigation teams.
There are times I miss the police, but they are very few and far between, I mainly miss the blue light runs. I am glad I found the courage to follow my dreams and try life outside the Force. Yes, it was scary, yes, I had some luck, but mainly I worked hard, enjoyed every day, and never looked back, but I also never forgot where I came from.
I can say if I can make a success of myself outside the Force, anybody can.
Dreams are only dreams because you haven’t tried them.