We all like spending our spare time in our own way. Some of us like curling up on the sofa and watching a bit of telly. Some of us spend it down the gym. But every day, people just like you are doing something different. Something exciting. Something that is immensely rewarding for them and hugely beneficial to the whole of London. Charlotte is one of them. She volunteered as a special constable over a year ago.
"Since becoming a special constable, she's more confident, responsible...the person that she always had the potential to be"
Charlotte had always dreamed of being a police officer. She knew that she wanted a job where every day was different, where she could help people out and positively affect their lives. Growing up, she'd seen the admin and data entry tasks her mum, Julie, had brought home. She knew her mum loved her job, but realised a routine office job like that wouldn't be for her.
"The thought of going and sitting at your desk every day knowing that every day's going to be the same just bored me..."
Becoming a special constable was a good opportunity to see if she could cut it in the police service. Volunteering 16 hours a month, Charlotte has the same uniform and powers of arrest as regular officers. She's helping her community and it's an exciting challenge that gives her some amazing life skills and experience. What's more, one day, she hopes it could turn into a full-time career. Of course, when Charlotte told her mum that she was going to apply, Julie was a bit concerned. Any mother would be. However, Julie's seen how extensive training combined with the backup of fellow officers mean Charlotte's equipped to deal with any situation.
"I feel the same if she's going out for the night. She's my daughter...so I just want to know she's home safe..."
In addition to the backup of regular officers, and all the safety equipment she receives as part of the uniform, Charlotte receives continuous training. This includes practical lessons in officer safety as well as coaching in how to diffuse and calm potentially dangerous situations.
"Her attitude's changed, her confidence levels have increased..."
More than anything, Julie's seen how the role has brought out the best in her. Of course she's proud that her daughter's giving something back. But on a personal level, she's seen that the training, combined with the experience of being on duty, has meant that Charlotte's more confident, responsible and caring – qualities that Charlotte's noticed in herself.
"I think I'm more decisive. I don't panic or worry like I used to. I'll just say, 'yeah, okay, I'll do that.'"
The whole experience has benefitted Charlotte. It's fired her ambition, allowed her to do something that she always wanted to, and given her the variety that she craved.
"...there's loads of opportunities. I worked during the Pope's visit to Westminster, I'm covering the London Marathon and last week I was up at 4am for a covert operation."
Charlotte is here for London. If you're looking to do something different, the Metropolitan Police Service can give you a volunteer role like no other. So be there for London. Make the most of your potential and give something back to your community.
Find out more and apply online by visiting www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/specials quoting ref: 41/11 on your application.