Kevin's on a special mission

Kevin Holliday, Mortgage and Protection Advisor
For 30 years Kevin Holliday had thought about being a police officer. His life went in a different direction, working in the legal profession, enjoying family life, and joining the Cumberland Building Society. But Kevin has just taken a big step towards fulfilling his longstanding desire, by becoming a Special Constable.

Kevin, 49, lives in Seaton and is a mortgage and protection advisor at the Cumberland’s base in Workington. In his role he helps customers at the Cumberland to get on the housing ladder, and now he dedicates his time outside of work to helping people too. “I always had a yearning to join the police when I was younger, but it was just an avenue I didn’t explore.”

His ambition was reawakened last summer when Cumbria Police advertised for Special Constables. “I’m very much a people person,” says Kevin. “I enjoy speaking to customers and helping them.” Helping people was also a motivation behind his desire to become a special.

“My wife, Jemma, works for the Cumberland in the risk department. She knew policing was something I wanted to explore and is extremely supportive. Over the years I’ve constantly talked about it! Our children Daniel, 17, and Grace, 15, are less reliant on me now they’re getting older. I thought, this is the right time.”

Kevin completed his training and started as a special in March, based at Workington Police Station. “I’m always out with a regular police constable. There’s a requirement to do four hours a week. They’re versatile about how you do it. Usually I do one 10-hour shift every two weeks, mainly at weekends.

“Essentially my role is to assist with whatever may arise during the shift. It could be an enquiry they need to follow up or we could get called out so it can be extremely varied. My first job, somebody was found in the street. It was alcohol- and drug-related. She said she’d taken an overdose, so it was a case of waiting for the ambulance to make sure she was all right”.

Kevin has had to tackle a variety of serious incidents on shift, his duties also include helping to police large events in the area. “In June, I was at Appleby Horse Fair for three days, which was really busy as it is a big policing event locally, and for myself very rewarding.

“Every shift, I learn something new. The officer who trained me said “Your
biggest tool is your voice.” If you talk to somebody how you would want to be spoken to, a situation can be defused very quickly. There’ve been times when I’ve thought maybe I was getting too old. But the police want people with a bit of life experience and who know how to speak to people.”

Kevin says that Jemma is supportive, while anxious when he’s on patrol. “She’s
always on edge when I go out in case something happens. You can’t 100 percent say you’re going to be safe. But then again, that’s life isn’t it.”

Kevin is often asked whether he harbours ambitions to become a full-time police officer. “I’ve always wanted to help people. Becoming a Special was a great opportunity to allow me to do this in a different environment than my day job. The Cumberland have been fully supportive. I enjoy my job and becoming a special constable is a good balance.

There’s been times in both roles when I’ve thought “I’ve made a bit of a difference there.” I feel like I’ve achieved something.”

Lewis Benson, Area Branch Manager at The Cumberland, has worked closely with Kevin and is incredibly supportive of his volunteering: “Kevin is a real inspiration to us here at the Cumberland. He helps our customers secure their dream home, but also keeps our street safe. Thank you Kevin, for all that you do.

“Being a Special Constable in his own time is a true representation of innate kindness which is at the very core of our culture, and we are extremely proud to support him in supporting our local communities.”

Special Constables are unpaid. Kevin puts himself on the front line purely to help
others – a great example of kindness in action.

Cumbria Police is currently recruiting special constables to add to the 36 they have working across the force who volunteer their time through the Employer Supported Policing (ESP) scheme which is a partnership between employers, their staff and the police service.

Temporary Inspector Siraaz Patel, for Cumbria Police, said: “At its heart this scheme promotes both increased community engagement and corporate social responsibility.

“The scheme can provide real, long-lasting benefits to all parties. It represents an opportunity for organisations and businesses to celebrate and participate in what volunteering can achieve. The benefits to businesses are great too.”

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