WMPeople: Detective Inspector Alison Street
Detective Inspector Alison Street, aged 47, Public Protection Detective Inspector and also a mum to two young adults aged 18 and 16.
The day started with… a strong cup of black coffee, a meditation session and a nice warm shower before an hour-long commute on public transport to get to work.
I’m responsible for… the Adult Care Abuse Investigation Team (ACAIT)
I joined up… on 20September 1995, having just returned from living in Russia. I decided to live there after I graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Russian and French yet having never spoken to a Russian person. That soon changed when I lived there (people who know me know I love to talk).
The department is… a forcewide team based at West Bromwich comprising of two sergeants, 11 detective constables, two police staff investigators and myself.
We complete secondary investigations into physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and financial abuse offences where the victim is an adult with care and support needs and where the suspect is in a position of trust, a registered carer or another adult with care and support needs.
We also investigate any deaths of adults with care and support needs within either the community, hospital or care home setting which are considered to be suspicious yet are not identified as homicide. We attend forensic post mortems, fact find on behalf of the coroners, deploy Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) and give sworn evidence in the coronial courts.
I got here… through sheer hard work, determination, gritted teeth and support from both my mentor and second line manager. I have been a single parent for most of my children’s lives, having to juggle shifts with the help of my parents after escaping an abusive relationship.
I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and underwent lengthy treatment and I was told by someone that I would never make it in life, but I knew that I wanted to go for promotion and worked so hard to become a sergeant and later an inspector.
My typical day… there is no typical day. It always starts with a morning briefing. But, after that, I could be at a safeguarding adult meeting, a forensic post mortem or catching up with my investigative strategies. I always end my day however with a walk to get my steps in.
My most memorable moment… would probably be the occasions where I have put my degree into practice and have used my language skills. I was the FLO on a murder several years ago where the suspect fled to France and, as there was no extradition treaty I had to travel there to interview him and later attend the court hearing and appeal. I also flew out to Moscow with Aston Villa FC and the gold commander in 2009 to aid communication between the Russian police and WMP.
The best part of the job… is being in a privileged position to investigate death. I come from a family of funeral directors where death has always been a part of life. To be able to provide a voice for the deceased and answers to the families who want to know how their loved one has died means so much to me.
The worst part of the job… as corny as it sounds, I genuinely can’t think of anything negative. The team is just lovely - really passionate about the job we all do. We get to meet some inspirational people, have time to do a really thorough investigation and ultimately, we make a real difference to the lives of some extremely vulnerable people.
If I didn’t do this I’d… probably write a book about some of the hair-raising and odd things that have happened to me in my life. I’d travel more, spend more time with my friends and family and I plan to train to be a funeral celebrant post retirement.
If you have been inspired by Alison’s story and are considering a new career where you can really make a difference, then why not think about joining West Midlands Police?
We are recruiting and applications are open to become a police officer, to find out more, visit https://jobs.west-midlands.police.uk/police-officer-recruitment/youre-made-for-this/