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Things you only know if you're a police officer – Paris Hodgkinson-Black
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a police officer

Written by
Danielle Goldstein

…according to PC Paris Hodgkinson-Black, 25.

Getting tear-gassed really, really hurts

‘It’s horrible, I’m not gonna lie. We all get sprayed with it in training so we don’t spray it around like deodorant. It feels painfully itchy, like you’ve been cooking with chilli and rubbed your eyes, but 100 times over. The particles stick to your hair, so when you have a shower you kind of get sprayed all over again. But you’re back to normal in about ten minutes.’

Almost anyone can join the police

‘I came in through Police Now, which is aimed at people from university who hadn’t considered policing as a career. The idea is you have two years with a specific ward, so you get to know your community well: from local gang members to your MP.’

Londoners can be a bit light-fingered

‘The minor offence we spend most of our time on is shoplifting. It’s usually a local resident stealing a pack of chicken or something. I had this one guy who walked out with a whole trolley-load of meat – over £300 worth! I think he might have been a bit tipsy.’

Nothing can prepare you for the smell of a dead body

‘We had to do training in a morgue because on the job you’re going to see dead bodies. The smell of a decomposing body is something you just can’t place, but you never forget. Everyone was being very stoic, but I couldn’t go in the room. I threw up quite a bit in my mouth.’

People in Brent are cheeky

‘I work within the Dudden Hill ward in Brent, and a guy with all gold teeth told me I should dump my boyfriend and come for a Nando’s with him. He wasn’t even under arrest, he was just someone I met on my day-to-day patrol.’

Now discover the things you only know if you’re a pest controller.

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