Written by Rebecca Mason
I was born on the 27th May 1988, three months earlier than I should have been. At the time this was unheard of and the doctors informed my parents that there was a high likelihood I would not survive, or if I did, I could develop serious health problems. Despite the warnings my parents never gave up hope. On the 11th July 1988 (my mother’s birthday) after being in an incubator for 2 months, I was allowed to leave the hospital. I remember my mother telling me later that I was so small they could only buy dolls clothes for me as regular new born baby clothes didn’t fit.
As I was getting older my parents realised something wasn’t quite right. I was partially deaf. The doctors warned that due to me being born premature and my body not developing properly this could have been a risk. It was touch and go as to whether my hearing would improve, get worse or I would be deemed totally or partially deaf.
At the age of 4 I had an operation to try and fix my hearing. I had grommets put in my ears (no not grommets from the kids cartoon like I spent years thinking) This operation was a success and I remember clearly the day I returned home from hospital. I put the television on and immediately had to put my hands over my ears, boy, that TV was loud! The operation had worked! My hearing almost completely normal. It was a real miracle.
Growing up I was a very lucky child. My parents worked as accountants so money wasn’t an issue for us, therefore they made sure I didn’t want for anything growing up. However they taught me something more important than money. Being Kind. One of the earliest memories I have as a child was driving with my Dad, I must only have been about 6 at the time. I recall us driving to school in the morning. On the way in there was a broken down car blocking a lane. I remember seeing other cars driving round it, beeping their horns and shouting through their windows. With that my Dad stopped the car and told me to wait. He got out of the car and helped the gentleman in the other car push his vehicle to the other side of the road. As soon as my Dad began to do this a second motorist stopped…then a third. Before I knew it the whole road had come to a standstill and about 5 or 6 people were helping push the car to the side of the road.
Once done, I saw my Dad shake hands with the driver of the vehicle and get back in the car. He just looked at me and said “Rebecca, it costs nothing to be kind” and that day and those words will stick with me forever. It took one person to start a chain reaction. Everyone chipping together and helping each other, being Kind.
I suppose a little on how I ended up serving in the Police. Well…as a child I developed an obsession with watching ‘The Bill’ it was from that moment I decided that I wanted to be a Police Officer. After working on a farm for a few years, then a Bank I decided to write my application form to be a Police Officer. It involved taking a college course and passing an overall law exam which I completed in 2010.
All of these seemed to fly by, the next minute I was stood in the Police Uniform Supply Store trying on my outfit. I looked ridiculous. With the stab vest, fleece, high vis all on, I looked like the ‘Sun’ out of the Tellytubby’s. It seemed surreal and the feeling I had that day I cannot even put into words. For the first time in my life I felt proud of myself.
Now, what follows was the real eye opener. I detailed earlier my upbringing. It was perfect and something I most definitely at the time took for granted.
Being in the Police has opened up my eyes to a lot of things. I have had incredible highs and incredible lows. I very quickly realised that not everyone in the word was as lucky as me and here I was trying to advise them on how to live their lives and to try and empathise with them? It was hard. However, my Dads words always have stuck with me ‘It costs nothing to be Kind’
Don’t get me wrong, this moto is hard to live by when you’re sat interviewing a suspect who has committed an awful crime, however I am rest assured that their time will come and me being horrible to them will get me nowhere. I am here to do a job, and I do it well.
Friends of mine always ask ‘what’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen in the police’ This phrase always sends chills down my spine. I appreciate that people who are not subjected to the things I see each day my job can be seen as ‘exciting’ and ‘interesting’ of course it is. But a word of warning comes with that. As a Police officer I have been to murder scenes, suicide scenes, had to take children into police protection, witnessed scenes of horrific violence, and attended road traffic accidents, all horrendous in their own right. None of which I would ever wish anyone to have to witness.
At the end of the day you try and go home, live your life as normal however this is hard. Then when asked to recap your ‘Worst experience’ it is in a word, awful. I do not want to recall the day I attended the scene of a murder and a 4 year old child was upstairs whilst the mother lay dead in the living room, I don’t want to recall the road traffic accident I attended with the dead child in the back seat, I don’t want to recall the hanging I witnessed because someone felt there was no hope left in the world and this was his only way out. It is not me ‘forgetting’ any of this happened. It’s me trying to deal with it. Having respect for each individual victim and finding a way to come to terms with the world and how awful it can be.
Now, I know the Police often get a lot of bad press. Something that really gets to me.
So I am going to give you my real experience of working in that environment. Never have I worked with such amazing, kind hearted people in my life. Realistically you need to look at why people join the police. Is it the money? No! Is it for the huge recognition you get? Also No.
It’s to help people! I don’t know many people who, given the choice would want to go to work to be spat at, abused and insulted. There media is out to criminalise you and make it look like you’re failing when realistically you’re not, the country is.
People say ‘Oh You’re just a Police Officer’ let me give you some clarity on that.
I am not!
I am a mother figure to those troubled children that do not have one.
I am a social worker to those who do not know how to deal with their own problems.
I am a friend to those who need to vent out their frustrations.
I am a first aider to those in a critical medical situation and paramedics are not close.
I am a saviour to those victims who have no one to turn to and help them find justice.
I am an enemy to those to prey on the weak and defenceless.
I am the person that will put themselves in harm’s way to protect people I have never met.
And when I am not at work, I am the neighbour who is asked to take care of the problems in the street.
I am the security camera that recognises when bad people are around and up to no good,
I am the one that makes others feel safe because I am ‘Just a Police Officer’
But I am also a human being. Remember the Thin Blue Line looks out for you, but who is looking out for us? We are just ordinary people, that do an extraordinary job.
Now…here I am, 10 years in the job. A Detective in the Economic Crime Department by day. By night, and weekends, Director of an events company called Hunt Or Be Hunted. A team building day which gives people the opportunity to go on the run, and become hunters for a day. This is loosely based on the TV show Hunted.
If you guys didn’t watch Celebrity Hunted last year, give it a watch, you will see myself and fellow co-director Steve running about after some well-known faces, just excuse the language.
Rebecca Mason is a police detective, complex fraud investigator and Co Director of Hunt or Be Hunted corporate events company.