- Richard Haywood
One chapter closes. Another begins. Life goes on.
There’s been a slight change to my life, and one that’s left me a bit stunned. Let me briefly explain…
I’ve been on a career break from Hampshire Constabulary for the last three and a half years so I could focus on writing – but that time ran out recently and I was contacted by Hampshire County Council HR department to ask if I was returning.
I asked them what’s the minimum hours I could do. I love writing, and it’s enough to support me full time, but I also really loved my policing career too, so I wanted to try and work out a way to do both.
Unfortunately, HR couldn’t quite grasp that concept and after some verrrrry confusing, very cold, and somewhat inflammatory emails I said hey, it’s cool, maybe I should just resign and save the hassle.
They didn’t really reply to that, but I figured I’d have to formally resign by way of completing a form. (There’s a form for everything in the police). Which also meant I could make contact with someone other than HR and see what role I could do – if any. I mean, there’d be an exit interview, right?
Then my P45 dropped through the door.
That’s it. 22 years of policing without a single substantive complaint and multiple commendations and awards and I get a couple of emails then a pro-forma P45 thereby ending my career and a very important part of my life.
The coldest thing is that it wasn’t even signed by a human being. It was just a generic form used for anyone that Hampshire County Council have HR responsibilities for.
Just to sum up (and forgive me if in anyway this sounds like a rant) but I was the highest performing officer in my division for a long time. I’ve been seriously assaulted multiple times and required hospital treatment. I still have pain from some of those incidents, and I always will.
I’ve been targeted by criminals, had my car written off and had to move home due to the severity of those threats.
I’ve had piss / shit / blood and puke all thrown at me. I’ve been attacked with knives, threatened with firearms and bitten by dogs (and people).
I’ve saved people from burning buildings and freezing cold seas and talked people down from suicides more times than I can remember.
Car chases. Foot chases. Protracted complex investigations. I was first on the scene for plane crashes and major incidents and done more than my share of picking body parts up.
I’ve had people die in my arms and done CPR on casualties. I’ve dealt with deceased children and some of the most distressing things you could imagine. I’ve had to give evidence against corrupt cops too when others stayed silent and suffered the subsequent backlash.
However, I wouldn’t change any of it. Not one day. Even at the worst times, it was still the best job in the world, so to end that 22 year career with a couple of cold emails and a generic unsigned P45 made my jaw hit the floor.
I even emailed HR to ask if that was correct. I honestly thought maybe something had got confused because the process seemed so detached. So uncaring and brutal. I mean – surely someone would at least call and say hey, thank you for your service, and this is what happens to your pension now, and ask if I had any questions.
HR didn’t reply.
I guess that’s done then, and honestly, right now – I’m not sure how I feel about it.
I loved my career, and I’d always recommend anyone to consider a career in policing. I believe in good values. In honesty and decency. In fairness, tolerance and respect. I believe in the merits of hard work and how having discipline in life will help you achieve your dreams. Anyone who reads my books can see the recurring theme of doing the right thing for the right reasons.
But I also believe in treating people decently – and that was not in any way a decent thing to do.
I also didn’t leave for any negative reason. It’s not like I got kicked out for being naughty and left under a black cloud.
I left to do something positive and become a full time (and thankfully) successful bestselling author. I’m in talks with Hollywood producers and scriptwriters! It’s nuts and brilliant and super amazing. Honestly. I’ve been so lucky. I’m not saying that to brag, but to try and process it – because right now, there’s a teeny bitter aftertaste left from how that was done.
You just don’t treat people like that. Especially not people who have gone above and beyond on countless occasions.
Pick the phone up and make a call, or even, and hey, I know this is out there, but get one of the local divisional commanders to do it. Blimey. What a concept eh? Hey, Rich. Heard you’re not coming back from your career break. Just thought I’d say thank you and good luck for the future.
But nothing. End of. Blimey. Way to go, Hampshire Constabulary. I love you too.
Ah, but hey ho. It’ll pass, I guess. You can’t let bad shit dictate how you go forward. One chapter closes. Another begins. Life goes on.
And if you are considering a career in policing – and right now the country is crying out for recruits – then go for it. It’s just an insane job and if you do it right, and for the right reasons, you can have a very positive impact too. I just hope that at the end of your service someone remembers to say thank you.
Just that simple act means so much.
Anywho. There you go. I’m not a po-po anymore. I’m just a writer.
Man. How cool is that.
I’m a writer.
RR Haywood x