My Journey

I joined the Metropolitan Police force in 1983, and as a young black female, I was indeed a rarity. My journey in the Met had been filled with many trials, tribulations, and triumphs, but I survived against the odds. My younger sister followed my career path and joined the Met in 1994.


After four house moves, two engagements, one marriage, two children, several cats, one divorce, two promotions, and one grandson later, I retired from policing after 32 years of service in 2015. I had done my time, and I was ready to leave.

I just wanted to rest and reset my mind and body for the first few months of retirement. I thought I would sit in front of the TV and dribble, but my mind was too active. I had plans to clear out my loft and do everything I had on my long to-do list. However, life happens, and my loft is still a mess in 2022. I did manage to sort out other items on my list.

As much as I tried to put policing in a box at the back of my mind, I couldn’t. I was still interested in all matters concerning policing. I was still passionate about policing, and I wanted to still be able to contribute in some way.


I was becoming increasingly concerned about where policing was going, in particular, the Met Police. The negative press, the declining standards of policing racism, and misogyny. It seemed to me like policing was going backward. It made me wonder if I had made a difference at all in my 30+ years at the Met.

I attended a Black History Month event at the Nat West Bank headquarters, the participants exchanged stories of past and present experiences in their respective organizations. At the end of the meeting, someone asked me if I had considered writing a book about my experience. That brief conversation planted a seed in my brain that I found difficult to shake. The seed in my brain grew as the months passed, and I could no longer ignore the thought.


In 2018 I decided to write my memoirs about my time in the police service. I had no idea where to start or what even to write. Luckily, I have always been a note-taker, writing in diaries and notebooks at home and at work. I found that writing stuff down would help me remember things. A study at the University of Tokyo in 2021 revealed that handwritten notes optimize memory.


I was fortunate to locate most of my old diaries since 1984. I had varying types of beautiful books and Filofax inserts. I’m not a hoarder, I just found that I could not chuck away my notes from the past.


I spent days reminiscing through the pages of my diaries, filled with such beautiful memories and anxious moments. I found dozens of old police pocketbooks, all written in my signature italic fountain pen. With all this information, I was ready to start writing my book. So, I thought.


I managed to get my brain all wrapped up in thoughts like. “But how do I start?” “Should I type or handwrite my manuscript? “Do I need to follow a format?”. “If I type it, what font should I use?” “Are you capable of writing a book?” “Who will want to read It?”  “Who will want to publish the book?”  “Do I go down the traditional publishing route, or should I self-publish?”  The questions in my head were almost enough to make me quit.


Maybe, I should conduct some research and read books on writing. I found Stephen King’s book entitled On Writing, Writing Creative Nonfiction by Tilar JJ Mazza, and How to Write a Best-selling Memoir by Victoria Mead. I decided to follow Stephen King’s advice; if one wants to write well, one must read a lot. I began to read a few memoirs starting with Michelle Obama’s Becoming. The first police memoir I read was Blue A Memoir by John Sutherland.

After a couple of months, I realized that I was engaged in action distraction. I was so busy reading about writing I had not written a thing. I was procrastinating!

A dear friend of mine, Emma Stroud, author of Lesson from A Clown, How to Find Courage shows up for yourself and laughs every day. Emma suggested that I sign up for a book Boot Camp. So, I did just that. I signed up for Alison Jones’s Practical Inspiration Publishing This Book Means Business – The Boot Camp. Alison specialized in business books, which would give me the grounding of where to start. Interestingly, as I write this blog, Emma Stroud is featured on Alison Jones’s podcast, The Extraordinary Business Book Club Episode 337.


In week one of the boot camp, we covered Mindset. I had to confront how I felt about the prospect of writing my memoir. I had an intense excitement and fear of being judged and felt that my book would not be good enough. My self-limiting belief was strong, but when I realized that everyone in the boot camp had similar emotions. I felt much better about the situation.


So, why do I want to write the book? I have an important story that must be shared.


“I learned that Courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela



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