Ella E: BSc (Hons) Criminology, 2017 – 2020; Prison Officer

28 Nov 22

“I’ve always wanted to be a Police Officer, since I was a kid […] that's why I did the whole Criminology course”

In 2019 Ella took part in an extracurricular opportunity organised by her dissertation supervisor which allowed a group of students to attend sessions in HMP Winchester and engage with resident inmates through conversations and debates; kickstarting Ella’s career in Law Enforcement and Security. Ella attributes this experience as invaluable in helping her secure her first role as a Prison Officer.

“I thought if I’ve done that [the prison experience], why can’t I do the actual officer side of things? So, because I’d already gone into a prison, I used it in my interview and they really liked that”

Little did Ella know at the time, that years later she would come full circle to meet someone in her new job who had partaken in the same scheme, from a different perspective:

“I think we were discussing what I did in university and I said that I'd done a course in a prison and turns out he'd actually done one in another prison, the exact same as I've done, but he was on the prisoner side of it”

Whilst being a Prison Officer comes with its challenges, and officers are required to complete up to 12 weeks of induction training to be able to handle situations that may arise in a working day, the support of her colleagues is something Ella values most highly.

“I love it! It is a dangerous job, but we're all sort of like a family. I know if I'm in trouble, I just press my button and I've got people coming towards me in 10 seconds. I love that we all just look after each other so well. Nothing bad ever happened to me, but I know that if anything did, straight away, I'd have someone there.”

Initially, Ella saw her Prison Officer role as a steppingstone to her next opportunity, as a way to gain experience and work her way up. Now, having been in post for nearly two years, Ella has set her sights on her next role and is in the final stages of recruitment to become a Police Detective.

“[the recruitment process] was a lot of different levels. I've still got to do a few more core learning things as you’ve got to learn a few bits, like legislation before you go in. I applied in July, and now it’s November so it’s been a few months and then I’ve still got a few more bits to do.”

When submitting her application for the Police Detective role Ella didn’t expect to be successful, but is now looking forward to getting involved in the nitty-gritty nature of being a detective.

Speaking of how being a detective is not just about investigating crime but also about ensuring that people feel safe with the people that are representing them in the Police, her advice for others looking to get into this line of work would be:

“Just apply even if you don’t think you’ll get it because 100% you’ll surprise yourself. It’s always worth it. Be yourself during the interviews and become the person you want to see represented in that line of work.”

Back to alumni