Bolton School Former Pupils
Janette McCormick (1979-1986)
Janette is Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary and she was the Keynote Speaker at the annual Year 12 Business Enterprise and Skills Training (BEST) Day held in September
What were your favourite subjects and who were your favourite teachers at School?
I have to say Mrs Fisher and Mrs Keenan whom I saw recently when I went back to School
What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?
I did Physical Geography at Nottingham University – I loved the field trips! Can’t say I have used much of it since other than the maths and stats. Since then I have done internal exams within the Police and have a diploma in coaching.
What does your job involve and how did you progress to your current role?
During my second year at University I applied for the Police and got on the accelerated promotion scheme and joined Manchester, so at 21 was I pounding the streets of Salford. I worked my way through the ranks and have worked across a number of areas – heading the roads policing units, getting involved in the Common Wealth Games and travelling with Manchester United as I was the match commander there for three years – sounds fun, but I just saw a lot of airports and stadiums!
I am currently the Deputy Chief Constable at Cheshire Police which has about 3,500 staff. I have specific responsibility for units such as legal services, communications and discipline and am responsible for performance and our change programme which, given the current public sector cuts, is a challenge. The good thing about my role is that I am also operational and am a firearms and public order commander and oversee operational issues on a daily basis. I love the job and every day is different.
What/who influenced your career choice?
My Dad was a solicitor and my sister a barrister – I fancied doing something legal, but more hands on – I think you have to have an ethos of public service to be in the Police as over the past 25 years I have lost my innocence and seen things that change your perspective on life.
What/who has been your biggest inspiration?
My parents – both have a real work ethic and growing up I always saw they tried to help people, were non-judgemental and gave their time for others – in their 70s they are still active volunteers!
Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
You can’t do this job unless you have a passion for it as it affects your daily life – I have constraints on me outside work. Many times I have been late for things as I have been tied up a work and when the kids were younger my mum had to sleep at our house when I was out on jobs at the last minute. Support and understanding is essential – I think it is like nursing and other public services in that respect.
What do you like most about your job?
I feel I make a difference to peoples’ lives – I hope we make things better, or at least make people safer. It can be very frustrating, but very rewarding and people see the uniform and expect you to help and rely on you.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
Crime has changed and in fact is only about 10% of all the calls we get; mental health, alcohol and vulnerable people take an increasing amount of officers’ time – many of these issues are not police issues alone, but we are there 24 / 7 and so are called on. It is hard as we don’t have the solutions – that is frustrating as many of these people just need help.
What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?
I recently was awarded the Queens Police Medal – this recognised the work in developing Neighbourhood Policing and working with partner organisations on issues such as domestic abuse and mental health. To be recognised for how you serve the public is a great feeling.
How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?
It made me challenge things when you think they are wrong and try to be the best you can be – I also learned never to give up.
What advice would you give to our pupils interested in your field of work?
It isn’t like TV – things don’t get solved in 20 minutes and aren’t always exciting. There is a lot of mundane work, but if you want to help people and want to have a career that is different every day, then find out a little more – at 18 you can join the Specials as a taster, but get some experience of life first as the situations you find yourself in need that.
Why did you offer your assistance to School?
I have two girls at the School and I see them wrestle with what they should do – neither wants to join the Police. I can only offer advice from my experience and so I value other people telling of their experiences so they can think about alternative careers and options. It costs you nothing, you perhaps will help someone – why wouldn’t you come back to offer your assistance?