Rachel, Authorised Firearms Officer

Rachel, Authorised Firearms Officer

Military service

“As a child growing up, I was always interested in the police. I applied for Merseyside Police when I was 18 but, was unsuccessful. So, I decided to join the Army with the intention of doing 4 years’ service and then trying for the police again.

“Once I had finished my initial training for the Army, I was posted to 17 Port and Maritime Regiment in Southampton, where I spent most of my military career. It was there where I first became aware of the Ministry of Defence Police too. Having spoken to the officers on several occasions about what they did and the role of the MDP, I remember thinking that this could be a new career path for me and a new challenge with such a wide variety of roles available.

“12 years down the line, I was still in the Army and it was at that point I decided to give the police another try. I spoke to my Commanding Officer about wanting to change my career path, to follow my original dream of being a police officer, and with the MDP recruiting, I decided to put in an application.

Rachel, in the Army

Application process

“When I passed the initial sift, the pandemic had begun and when I reached the assessment centre process, I was one of the first applicants to take part in an online process which included interviews on Teams. The recruitment team kept me well informed about all changes to the assessment process as it moved forward, and I was really impressed with how smoothly they guided us applicants throughout.

“In August 2020 I received my official job offer for the MDP and although I had some of my best times whilst in the Army, I was really excited about having a fresh start and new challenge. I was expecting to have to give the Army 12 months’ notice but, they sent my Commanding Officer a letter to explain that I had a job offer and requested approval for me to be granted early release. It was agreed and I left the Army in December 2020. The whole process of me joining the MDP took about 14 months.

Why the MDP appealed to me

“For me the MDP offered a perfect career transition, where I could move into policing (something I had always wanted to do) whilst also working in an environment and armed protective security role with which I was, of course, very familiar.

“An armed policing role is different to being in the Army, but the purpose to protect and the nature of the work being an important part of national security arrangements is the same. The need to work well as part of a team, and the camaraderie that goes with that, are also something I could see would continue in a role with the MDP. With my military background, the move into armed policing at Defence sites felt like a natural and comfortable progression in my working life.

“Something that is different working with the MDP, in comparison to my role in the Army, is the set shift pattern and the ability to book time off for pre-booked holidays: that is something that was very appealing to me.

Life in the MDP

“I’ve now spent just over seven months in the MDP, five months in training and two months at my first station. I am very much enjoying my new role and I have made some great friends, during training and now on station too.

“The opportunity to progress into other specialist armed policing roles in the MDP is something that really interests me. I plan to apply to become a dog handler or perhaps an Operational Support Unit officer in the future, following completion of my probation.”