A new police officer in Worksop who has previously worked in preschool and in the NHS has said she wants to make her family proud and believe they can "become whatever they want to".
New Nottinghamshire Police officer Karen O’Reilly wants to make her family, including her four children proud after she completed her training on Friday, November 15.
PC O’Reilly, 42, originally from Galway has had a mix of careers including working for a preschool service in Ireland and working for the NHS.
She was the oldest recruit in her cohort, which passed out in front of friends and family at a special ceremony, but has always felt inclusive and was always listened to throughout her training.
She said: “I’m very lucky to have support of my family around me, as well as everyone here within the force to make sure I’ve got that work-life balance.
“I’m aware that some believe that this career is for those finishing University or school, but I’ve proved whatever age you are, you can make that career change.
“I’ve found Notts Police have been really accommodating, particularly with the life-work balance. I’ve been placed to a station that’s closer to my home and they’ve really listened and taken that on board and that will help with my family life situation.”
So why the police at this stage of her life?
PC O’Reilly admits that she’s had a varied career since moving over to England, but has always wanted to help families and children in particular.
She also advised that any working mum’s that might be half thinking of a change in career, to explore the possibility of becoming an officer.
She added: “When working within the health visiting service I always saw the aftermath of incidents, we gave that support to the children and parents following crimes and this is the next step for me. I want to be part of the team that investigate those crimes from the start and I want to get more hands-on.
“I saw the role being advertised on the force’s social media and the marketing was really good and eye-catching. Maybe I originally thought it was for the younger generation, but having looked into it a bit more, it ticked a lot of the boxes – wanting to help people and make a difference.
“The application process is long, I think it took around two years, but I didn’t lose faith. I was always going to see it through, through all the different stages. I would definitely recommend this role to those women of a certain age who have had a previous career and just want to purse something different.
“I have enormous sense of pride doing this role and I wanted to instil into my children that if you want to do something, you can do it, whatever age and whatever stage you are at in your life. It’s an exciting role and I can’t wait to start.”
She is one of 18 officers to join the force and spent 18 weeks training this year, learning about the force’s ethics and values, as well as first aid, officers' safety, investigative skills, fraud and powers of arrest.
She added: “Training has been really good and insightful.
“The officer safety training really brought you out the shell. Maybe I didn’t think I would be up to the challenges of the physical aspect, but just proved that I could do it. There was a lot of reassurance given and the training was top standard.
“The evening shift gave us a chance to get in the uniform, talk to the public and meet them and it gave us a first-hand experience to see the public’s perception towards the officer, which I found really positive.
“I’m very excited, as brilliant the training has been, it’s definitely time to put everything we’ve learnt together and get out there into the real world and start our shifts.”