Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a patrol officer is like?

Last week was Response Policing Week, a national week recognising the hard work and dedication of patrol officers up and down the country. Patrol officers are tasked with responding to a variety of challenging situations every day, and are often the first people to attend emergencies.

They act selflessly to safeguard their local communities, and sadly, often become victims of verbal and physical abuse in the process. In support of the weeks’ activities, patrol officers from Devon & Cornwall Police, who serve the communities of Saltash and Penzance, shared a glimpse into a day in the life of a patrol officer.

The start of the early shift in Saltash saw the team supporting with a range of policing activities from hospital watch, attending a domestic incident, to attending follow-up appointments to progress ongoing cases. PC Hands responded to the first emergency call of the day, which was a domestic incident.

After arriving at scene, PC Hands and his colleague spoke individually to the parties involved to understand what had led to the incident. After gathering information and ensuring those involved were safe and free from harm, they determined it was a non-crime domestic incident and offered advice to both individuals.

Shortly after, PC Hands and his colleague were called to an alleged assault. Once at the scene, officers located the suspect and arrested them on suspicion of common assault. The suspect was transported to custody, and patrol officers remained with them until they were formally booked into custody. Officers followed-up with visits to witnesses of the alleged assault to take written statements.

During the late shift in Saltash, PC Alex Jones and his colleague began by making follow-up calls to victims of crime, to progress ongoing cases. The team then began a patrol of Liskeard town centre, engaging with members of the public to ensure everyone was enjoying the UEFA Euros football match sensibly and safely.

PC Alex Jones responding to an emergency call in Saltash
PC Alex Jones responding to an emergency call in Saltash (Picture: Devon & Cornwall Police)

The first emergency call of the evening was in response to a vulnerable lady who had activated her personal alarm. Officers were quick to arrive at her address, where they carried out a safeguarding check to ensure she was safe, and to understand if there were any concerns that needed to be addressed. After ensuring the lady was safe, content, and there was no threat of harm, the officers returned to the car ready to be sent to the next emergency.

Officers were tasked with responding to an emergency call for help at a domestic incident. After speaking to both parties and establishing what had happened, officers arrested a female on suspicion of assault and transported her to custody.

After handing the suspect over to custody officers, the team were called to a serious domestic incident where another arrest was made. Officers worked hard into the early hours of the morning to collate vital evidence, such as witness statements, in the immediate hour after the incident took place, in order to try and secure an evidence-led prosecution against the suspect and safeguard the victim from further harm. 

When asked about his role, PC Alex Jones said: “Being a police officer really is a privilege. The opportunity to live and work in this part of the world and being able to fulfil a role where you never know what is going to happen next is what makes this job exciting.”  

After taking over from a busy night shift, PC Mike Burt, a patrol officer who looks after the communities of Penzance, St Ives, Newlyn, and Hayle, and his team responded to an emergency call of a sudden death. The team supported the ambulance service who were the first to arrive at the scene, and an officer was stationed at the scene to guard the area, while crime scene investigators collected vital evidence for their investigations.

PC Burt was later called to a supermarket who had raised concerns that a prolific shoplifter had breached their criminal behaviour order (CBO). A CBO stipulates a person cannot enter certain premises for a specific period of time, and any breach of this can result in a custodial sentence, or fine. After reviewing CCTV, it was determined the suspect had not breached their CBO as they had not entered the store, however the shop security team were encouraged to remain vigilant and report any breaches to the police.

The shift continued with a patrol of Hayle, where PC Burt completed a vehicle check on a driver who was suspected of driving in a careless manner. Penalties for careless driving can be added to a driver’s licence remotely without the need to pull them over, with the driver receiving notification of this via a letter in the post.

PC Mike Burt, a patrol officer looking after communities in Penzance
PC Mike Burt, a patrol officer looking after communities in Penzance (Picture: Devon & Cornwall Police)

The driver’s actions were reported and logged on the system. PC Burt completed a safeguarding visit following an incident the previous evening, and visited a suspect to invite them to a voluntary interview to support an ongoing case. Patrols of rural areas of Penzance including St Ives and St Just were completed, to ensure everything was in order and to provide members of the public with an opportunity to speak to officers.

The final emergency call of the day was to an alleged threat of criminal damage. The officer gathered information from the victim, listened to their concerns and later offered words of advice and encouraged them to call the police again if they had any further concerns.

Behind every uniformed police officer serving communities across the Force is a person. Patrol officers across Devon & Cornwall Police have joined policing from a variety of backgrounds with a common goal, to protect and safeguard their communities and bring offenders to justice.

Joining the police later in life, PC Hands previously worked in IT and completed a postgraduate diploma in order to join the Force. Now, PC Hands has passed his Sergeant’s exams and hopes to be promoted to Sergeant. PC Jones began his career in policing as a volunteer special constable whilst finishing his university studies, and has now worked for Devon & Cornwall Police for five years.

He currently helps train student officers and wishes to complete his Sergeant’s exams in the near future. PC Burt worked for a recruitment company before joining the police as a patrol constable two years ago.

To keep up to date with the work local officers are doing, follow Devon & Cornwall Police on Facebook or Instagram, or sign up to Devon & Cornwall Alert.