Posted: Friday 18th January 2019
PC Ifor Williams, who is retiring at the end of this month, tells us about his experience of working for Avon and Somerset Constabulary
In 1998, I transferred to Avon and Somerset and started working at Staple Hill before moving to the response team at Trinity Road in 1999. Looking back, I have very fond memories of these times and I think it is true to say that many officers develop a sense of allegiance and ‘belonging’ to a certain station. Trinity Road is definitely where I belong.
In 2002, I moved to the Almondsbury police site as part of Support Group where I enjoyed being part of team involved in events with high risk public disorder one day, to working on major investigations the next. It was a very rewarding time.
I moved to the Tactical Firearms team and spent most of 2004 engaged on basic firearms, armed response vehicle and advanced driving courses. I spent 18 months on armed vehicle duties at Almondsbury before returning to more tactical response work. During this time, I developed my affinity with inner city Bristol and, in particular, with St Pauls. I could see the impact that open street drugs dealing was having on many local people’s lives. When a vacancy arose on the St Pauls Neighbourhood team in 2009, I jumped at the chance to be part of a team who was responsible for an area close to my heart.
Neighbourhood policing is not for everyone. It should never be considered as a move to simply gather evidence for promotion. Policing a community needs consistency and long-term commitment to nurture trust and understanding. It is a demanding and all-absorbing role. One of the benefits of being a police officer is the chance to change roles; if you find yourself going ‘stale’ or not enjoying your role, there are many ‘jobs within jobs’ available. I have been lucky enough to take advantage of this during my career and once I became beat manager for St Pauls, I finally felt like square peg in a square hole.
I have had many highs and low during my career. I would like to mention the highs but keep the lows to myself as they are stored away in a box with the lid tightly shut (a coping strategy that works for me).
The all-time high for me was working on Operation Tibia in 2015. I was part of a fantastic team of dedicated officers and staff who convicted 79 drug dealers. The commitment and professionalism shown by the investigation team made me extremely proud of our organisation.
In 2017, I was awarded the Queens Police Medal. While obviously very proud to receive the medal, I do believe I was singled out as a recipient for being the ‘public’ face of police successes on my beat. The medal belongs to and was earned by many other individuals within Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
I retire on 27th January 2019 with a heavy heart, but with enduring gratitude and admiration for some fantastic individuals in the organisation.