When I was an adolescent, I wanted to be a police woman. It was the only career I ever considered, to the extent that I chose to attend the police events for both the bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences, and discovered I had a keen eye for observational skills.
Years later, after living in the south of France for six years, I returned to Britain in the eighties, with the idea of pursuing a career in the police force. After passing the exam, a sergeant came to my home to interview me, only to tell me he thought I could do something better with my life, because as a woman, I’d most likely end up in a typing pool. Good grief!
Fast forward through years of a nursing career, I finally ended up working as a forensic nurse in a Youth offending Team. This job entailed working with young people between the ages of ten to eighteen. I would assess their mental health and work with them accordingly, whether it be in their homes, school or Young Offender’s Institute (prison). At last, I was working alongside the police, who were based in the same office; my childhood career materialised.
My experiences of visiting prisons, police cells and courts, add some (I hope) realism to my crime novels. I remember vividly the pressure of the job, the claustrophobic feeling of the cells, and the general malaise clinging to the atmosphere in the prisons. I was visiting an offender once, when the prison alarm rang. A fight had broken out, and lock-down was being enforced. Although I was completely safe, adrenaline riddled by body. I also remember taking a group of male adolescents to a male adult prison, with the idea of dissuading them from a life of crime. Walking within the grounds, men were hurling obscenities at myself and my female colleague, which was an uncomfortable experience.
I now liaise with a DI in the major crime unit in the Metropolitan force, who answers my questions with regards to procedures and crime. I reserve the right to use artistic licence, however, as sometimes the police procedure is too long and complex for the purpose of the story.
At the end of 2014, I attended jury duty, which has given me another dimension to my knowledge of crime fighting. Some jurors said they’ll keep an eye out in case I write a book revolving around a jury; having them guessing which character they inspired!
I have a plethora of books on policing, forensics, poisoning, true crime, and criminal psychology, to name but a few. I read a variety of male and female authors of crime fiction, such as Ian Rankin and P.D. James, but nothing beats human intervention, in my opinion.
Happy Word Flow One & All, and thanks for continuing to follow and read my blog.