No Comment: What I Wish I'd Known About Becoming A Detective

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No Comment: What I Wish I'd Known About Becoming A Detective

No Comment: What I Wish I'd Known About Becoming A Detective

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A relationship ended, and now the bulk of her social circle was made up of fellow trainees. After graduating, she was posted to east London, and worked largely with domestic abuse cases. Almost 11 per cent of all crimes reported to the police concern domestic abuse but, McDonald says, these are often the hardest to get a conviction for. Jess McDonald, who left the Metropolitan Police two years ago, opens up about the problems – and misconceptions – of an embattled force. I'm Not as Well as I Thought I Was is an insight into the depths of her psyche, and a stark exploration of what trauma can do to someone. Reflecting on years of personal and professional experience, she opens up to readers about her struggles with mental health and different treatments over the years, hoping to provide reassurance and guidance to anyone confronting their own anticipated, or unanticipated, struggles with mental health. At one point in the book, she recounts living in shared police accommodation, and how one male officer filmed a female counterpart in the shower. He was reported, but not fired. The officer’s next job was to protect victims of sexual offences.

Roger Deakin was unique, and so too is this joyful work of creative biography, told primarily in the words of the subject himself, with support from a chorus of friends, family, colleagues, lovers and neighbours. Piecing together evidence from original documents and artefacts, this book tells the story of Anne Boleyn's relationship with, and influence over her daughter Elizabeth. In so doing, it sheds light on two of the most famous and influential women in history. I do want to point out that there are some really good people in the force doing an incredible job in very tough circumstances,” she says, “but, yes, there are some really bad apples, too.” The reality, so different from her favourite TV dramas, was a slog of poor resources, sadistic sergeants and failed victims. She was bullied by two bosses, who belittled her and singled her out: scheduling her first night shift on her birthday, meticulously listing her trivial mistakes (like failing to attend the Met’s Christmas carol concert), chastising her for requesting holiday, and bragging about writing “damning” appraisals to “destroy” her career. Nothing happened when she complained. There was a “culture of silence” around badly behaved officers, she told me. For a short period she was signed off with depression, and then had PTSD diagnosed as she left.

Initially, the suspect had been chatty with her, even friendly. “But then I switched the tape on, and started asking questions, and he just said, ‘No comment’.” It is a requirement of detectives, when interrogating someone, to put all questions to them irrespective of whether the suspect is prepared to answer. “I asked the next question – ‘No comment.’ And then the next – ‘No comment.’ And so on. It was just very, very awkward,” she says. Yet she says that most officers she worked alongside were good people, keen to help, but often burnt out or desensitised by an impossible workload aggravated by budget cuts. “I’m not saying there aren’t issues with the culture and standards in terms of how it’s reported, in terms of turning a blind eye, in terms of not rooting out ‘bad apples’,” she says. “But it’s so demoralising to think that all these people who are almost martyring themselves with how intense the work is, like any public service, are now almost tarred with this brush of ‘the police are just bullies, racist, sexist.’” Borrow The Rooster House → Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines and the Health of Nations, by Simon Schama

Elizabeth I was less than three years old when her mother was executed. Given that she could have held precious few memories of Anne Boleyn, it is often assumed that her mother exerted little influence over her. But this is both inaccurate and misleading. Elizabeth knew that she had to be discreet about Anne, but there is compelling evidence that her mother exerted a profound influence on her character, beliefs and reign. Even during Henry's lifetime, Elizabeth dared to express her sympathy for her late mother by secretly wearing Anne's famous 'A' pendant when she sat for a painting with her father and siblings.

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Probably the most important book on the state of British policing you'll ever read. Written with candour and balance, Jess McDonald lifts the lid on why cultural change is nigh on impossible in the Metropolitan Police and how the justice system conspires against the most vulnerable. A brilliant read which should be compulsory for all Chief Officers if they are serious about understanding what life is really like at the coal face McDonald says she didn’t experience sexual harassment in the Met, but she knows women who did. Her friend Mel was living in police accommodation when she caught a senior officer using his mobile phone to spy on her in the shower of their shared bathroom. Fortunately, another officer intervened and the culprit was arrested, but by the time his case came to court, Mel had quit the force. “She’s said to me since, would she have reported it if it was just her and him? Probably not, because he’s more senior,” says McDonald.

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