Students and staff at London South East Colleges’ Greenwich Campus were given a unique insight into life at the very top of the Metropolitan Police Service this week, when they were paid a special visit from Commissioner Cressida Dick CBE, QPM.
Over 150 students from a range of courses came along to hear the lecture. Focusing on the theme 'Women in Leadership', Britain’s first female Police Commissioner, who heads up 40,000 staff, told the audience about her rise through the ranks and the challenges she has faced on her journey to the top.
Taking to the stage, Commissioner Dick talked about her career and passion for policing, as well as highlighting the many different recruitment routes available.
She said: “Joining the police has given me many opportunities and the work I have done has been extremely fulfilling. I’ve always been lucky enough to have good colleagues and mentors to help develop and support me; giving me the confidence to successfully progress my career.
“Since I joined the service in 1983, it has changed remarkably; becoming far more diverse and accountable to the public. The changes have been hugely positive and I am very keen and optimistic that this continues far into the future.
“Policing is a wonderful life and offers brilliant career pathways with lots of different training opportunities along the way. I have the best job in the world and get a huge amount of satisfaction from it - I’d highly recommend it!”
Following the lecture, students were given the opportunity to put their questions to Commissioner Dick. These focused on the challenges of being a woman in the police service and how recruitment from both women and ethnic minorities is being encouraged.
Commissioner Dick explained the importance of ‘demystifying’ the police service and the need to support flexible working. She was also asked about the new apprenticeship scheme within the service, which will be rolled out next year. The Commissioner explained that this new route will help achieve an even more diverse workforce.
College Principal, Sam Parrett summed up the event by saying: “It is an honour to play host to Commissioner Dick. I am delighted that she was able to give her valuable time to our students, inspiring them by sharing her story and offering a real insight into the police service.
“The two messages that stood out to me were the importance of continuously learning from others and to also ensure that you have ‘more than one string to your bow’. This is sound advice and I very much hope our students take it on board.
“I would like to thank the Commissioner on behalf of everyone who has had the good fortune to attend this amazing lecture.”
This is the second in a series of landmark lectures given to London South East Colleges’ students by some of the most senior figures from the public services, business and charity sectors. It follows a visit from Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton to its Bromley Campus last December.
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