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Being on secondment at the College of Policing

Published on 23 June 2022
Inspector Tonya Cook shares her experience of working as a frontline policing advisor
5 mins read

Tonya Cook is an inspector seconded to the College of Policing. She works within the local policing team in the role of frontline policing advisor.

Tonya was first attracted to the idea of doing a secondment when working as a response sergeant. She wanted to share learnings with her own force, but also leave a legacy to improve policing practices nationally.

I wanted to just take that step further and come to the College and say, well, these were the gaps in policing. How can I actually help improve policing?

Tonya believes that bringing police officers and staff into the College on secondment is beneficial for everyone.

I’m able to bring my experience of operational policing to people in the College who haven't got that background and really explain that and try to break the barriers down and the preconceptions about what the College does. So, it's been a two-way process really, is to say the College does certain things really well, certain things it can improve on.

Since being at the College, Tonya has attended focus groups and published national documentation – something she feels she wouldn't have achieved without coming to the College. 

I've been involved in some of the focus groups about transforming our College just to make sure that what the College is providing to the police service is exactly what it needs to.

Her influence on policing has also extended further afield, having attended some international conferences as a guest speaker. 

I've actually made those real good international connections that haven't just been within policing. It's been with academics, and it's been with like-minded people who want to improve policing. 

Tonya says she would recommend a secondment to others, to help ensure that forces are sharing knowledge and providing the best service they can.

I would say to anybody considering a secondment, you have got access to learning for yourself, but there's lots of opportunities to take the learning from the College back to your own police force and to share that learning quite quickly.

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