Callum's Story

15 February 2024

Hi, I’m Callum – 41 from Middlesbrough. I’m one of the lucky lads that’s always known what I wanted to be when I was older. I’ve been in the police for the last 17 years and I absolutely love it. Blue light calls are always an adrenaline rush but knowing you’re there to assist really helps quash the nerves. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with though is the amount of call outs we get to looked after young people.

It was actually one of these kids that pushed me to apply for this. His name kept appearing on our call outs for anti-social behaviour, absconding or trouble at his residential. The more I seen him the more of a rapport we built. It was this that worked more than any of the de-escalation techniques I was trained in. I could see him come down from being heightened when we’d chat through things familiar to him, we started to bond over some of these similarities (the Boro mainly) and really make what is a difficult situation a bit easier.

Through these chats he confided more than once that he felt no one listened to him, that everyone was there because they had to be, not because they want to be. I was so proud he felt he could tell me that, and thought if I could offer this to even one kid long term, I wonder how much of a difference it could make.

I had a look around at a few different things to see what this could look like. Now I’m not a social worker type of person, I don’t think I own a shirt besides my work one and I don’t have any kind of degree in working with kids. When I talked to a volunteer coordinator who told me this is exactly what some young people are looking for I was a little bit shocked. I don’t know why really; it makes complete sense that someone would want somebody who didn’t look ‘like they had to there’.

When I met Robby he was exactly the type of loveable little rogue I hoped I’d match with. He’s 16, nearly as tall as me and can beat me at a game of pool with his eyes closed. I was a bit wary to tell him I was in the police in case he binned me off. Don’t get me wrong he’s given me a bit of stick about it but overall I think he actually respects it.

Alongside seeing Robby I have regular supervision’s with my volunteer coordinator. She reminds me to stay in budget, sees how things are going with Robby and generally gives a bit of reassurance and advice about some of our trickier conversations. It’s nice knowing she’s there in the background if me or Robby need her.


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