Georgia’s journey from Geography at UEA to Kent Police
Georgia Marshall studied BSc Geography at UEA from 2017-2020. After a six-month period working as a town planner, Georgia has embarked on a career with the police via Police Now. We talked to her recently all about her experience working with the police and studying Geography at UEA.
I go in with a completely open mind about the young people in the area. We spent a lot of time getting to know the kids themselves and their families and were able to put in interventions to make sure that crimes didn’t take place.
Did you always expect to study Geography at university?
I’m really sporty and had actually expected to go down the sports science route. On A-Level results day I went through a U-turn and decided to study geography. So, I went through the clearing process and ended up at UEA. I hadn't looked around UEA, but it worked out so well, and I’m so glad I went.
And what made you choose UEA?
My brother had a friend who went to UEA a few years above and my brother had visited and described the campus. He had said how everything you needed was in one place and that sports played a big part of campus life. That made me think more favourably of UEA.
What sport did you play at UEA?
I played hockey and it played a big part in my university experience. Most of my social experiences were though the clubs.
How did you find studying Geography at UEA?
I really enjoyed it. I chose to study the BSc option, but I also picked as many of the BA modules as I could do, so I had a really nice balance between the human and the physical geography. I loved the variety in the course. I loved going on the field trips. They forced you to make friends with people that you wouldn't have ordinarily made friends with, and really helped to bond you with your coursemates.
Were you considering the police force while you were studying? And how did you get the job in Police Now?
I only thought about it in my last year. I saw the National Graduate Leadership Programme for Police Now pop up on a careers website and I decided to give it a go. The interview process was quite rigorous and so I took it one step at a time and just was happy each time I got through a stage. I applied late on, so the areas they gave me were Avon and Somerset or Essex. At the time, I wasn’t sure about moving to those places, and so I deferred my entry for a year and got into town planning. The idea was to do that for six months and see if I liked it. In the end, I didn’t want to do a completely desk-based job so I started with Police Now after those six months.
What was it about Police Now that appealed to you?
My family have all had jobs in the public sector and so I think there's always been that bit of me that wants to try to make a difference in people's lives. It also seemed like a really exciting profession to me – one where you make a difference and get out and make changes.
So what sort of work have you done under Police Now?
You start off doing response. That’s answering 999 and other calls. Then the focus moves onto community work. Each officer gets given a small patch where you have responsibility. You look at the issues in the area and try to problem solve. I’ve done some investigations but now the bulk of my time is in community protection and community safety.
Do you have an idea yet of what you want to specialise in?
Every time I work with a new team I think “Yes, that’s what I want to do!” It’s all so exciting. I have a placement coming up over summer with the National Crime Agency – and they look at human trafficking and the drug trade among other thing. From everything I've heard, it's an amazing experience and that might be something I look to get more involved in.
So what projects have you been working on in your area?
We have lots of issues like bullying and antisocial behaviour, and I’ve been doing a lot of foot patrol. It’s very proactive and it means you actually meet members of the community and build positive relationships. You notice that people’s perceptions of the police change really quickly. I go in with a completely open mind about the young people in the area. We spent a lot of time getting to know the kids themselves and their families and were able to put in interventions to make sure that crimes didn’t take place.
How has your degree helped you in your career?
It has helped a lot. When I first started I in the Community safety unit my then detective sent me a task to look at the urban design of the layout of the town, because she knew of my interest in geography. I learnt how by changing small parts of town layout design you could affect crime – for example putting pebbles down on long drive ways so that you can hear footsteps approaching.
What advice would you give to students in their last year at UEA?
Don’t panic and don’t assume everyone around you has the perfect plan! That’s especially true for geography – it’s a very broad subject that leads to lots of different careers and therefore students are sometimes not sure what sort of job to look for. Have faith and, as long as you enjoy what you’re doing and you put everything you've got into it, then things will work out quite well.
Georgia studied BSc Geography at UEA.
Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme is a structured, two-year programme which trains and develops outstanding graduates to be neighbourhood police officers in communities across England and Wales. Participants will act as leaders in society and on the frontline from day one of their careers, using problem-solving techniques to solve some of the most complex issues facing society and build public confidence in policing.