Hi! My name is Police Constable Lia Mercer and I am 25 years old and live in Kent with my family. Before joining the Metropolitan Police Service via their Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) pathway, I was a communications officer for Kent Police despatching officers to 999 and 101 calls. After 5 years I decided I wanted to join the Met for the greater opportunities it offered.
What made you decide to pursue a career in policing?
Having worked alongside officers, and seen the difference that they were making to people’s lives every day, I was thinking of taking the leap and becoming a police officer myself. This coincided with us losing my younger brother suddenly – the service that my family and I received from the police – at the hardest time of our lives – just strengthened my determination to be that support for others. I will remember those officers for the rest of my life. They went above and beyond, and are a big part of the reason that I am standing here as an officer today.
What was it that appealed to you about the Met’s apprenticeship programme?
When I spoke to an officer that I knew, they mentioned that the Met were bringing in a new entry route to join, which would be an apprenticeship in policing. So, in short you go to uni, and learn from real-life situations in daily police work - turning that into a degree. I thought, “Yeah, let’s go for it!” I wanted to be a police officer, so to also be able to get a degree paid for without the added financial pressure and stress was really appealing. You get to be a police officer, which is a massive privilege in itself, but to do the two in one, what a great experience! I feel lucky to be able to do this.
How have you found your apprenticeship so far?
I had a little bit of a police background, but when I started training it was completely different to what I expected, but in a good way!
I’ve been involved in so many great things: I have spent time on an Emergency Response Team, responding to 999 calls – you see and experience so many things whizzing around London. But for me, the best part has been what might seem like “little wins” for some people: sitting down with someone who has been the victim of domestic violence, and they finally get the courage to speak up after so many years, or helping to reunite vulnerable people with their loved ones.
What support is available to help you succeed?
In the Met they want you to succeed. There is so much support in place on the apprenticeship programme, with access to experienced officers every step of the way.
For example, I have a really helpful personal-development coach, who is actually an ex-police sergeant; my lecturer at university is also an ex-police superintendent, and I also have a police sergeant who is on hand to help me while I am based at university. That support continues when you’re on borough.
What would you say to someone interested in applying for the Met’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) pathway?
It’s hard work, but what you put in, you get out. I used to think I’d wait for the right time to join the police, but if you are thinking about it, there’s never a right time – just go for it. You won’t look back!