“The police force is the anvil upon which society beats out its problems and frustrations”

Saluting police officerI found these words by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Robert Mark to be useful guidance in January 1987 when I joined the police service. I have often reflected on them.

On this my last day of service, these words provide a perspective for a new generation queuing to join – despite a Tsunami of change hitting the service.

I joined to serve as a vocation. To be a part of something bigger and wider than I had known before. I was fantastically lucky to find a career that proved to be exciting, challenging, hard at times but also rewarding. It has been a tremendous privilege.

Tomorrow, for the first time since I was nineteen I will once again be a civilian. As I return equipment to stores, hand in my warrant card and hang up my career detective suit for the final time, I find myself thinking of a short story that sums up nearly three decades of serving the public:

A man was walking along the beach after a storm when he came across an old woman throwing starfish that had washed up onshore back into the sea. When he asked her what she was doing, she said she’d always wanted to make a difference and had decided that today was a good day to begin.

The man looked from her to the thousands of starfish that lay dying along the coastline and said, “For every starfish you throw back into the ocean, three more wash up onto the shore! How can you possibly make a difference?”

The woman looked thoughtful for a moment; then she picked up another starfish and threw it back into the sea.

She smiled. “Made a difference to that one.”

I am proud that together with some fantastic colleagues we threw back as many starfish as we could.


Kind Regards, Steve

Wherever you are on your promotion journey, www.ranksuccess.co.uk can help with guidance and support.