I have never quite ‘put away my Lexicon’, retaining a passion for Classics which settled in my heart during those Oxford years…No holiday season is quite complete I feel, if we have not set a sandalled foot on some ancient rocks somewhere across the globe. Although so old and seemingly familiar, there is always so much more to explore of the Classical World…. semper discamus et Floreat Exon…
Can someone be born a Classicist? Romantically, I like to think so, having been graced with a quintessentially Roman name. My fascination for all things Greek and Roman started at a very young age and rapidly developed into a life-long passion for these two great civilisations, reflected through their art, literature, architecture, philosophy, politics, military prowess, and extensive legacy which have shaped so much European and world history.
So when I applied to Oxford, the subject had to be ‘Literae Humaniores’ and as for the College, I was drawn instinctively to Exeter, where my father and his father before him both read History. Arriving at Oxford I thought I would be an academic for life, but over the next four years, while studying society through the holistic lens of a Classics degree, I found another calling: public service. I toyed with the idea of joining the army or following another family tradition, teaching, but in the end, combining elements from both professions, I became a police officer.
Having joined the Metropolitan Police as a constable in 1987, I served in London for fifteen years in a wide variety of roles and ranks. Policing inner-city Boroughs in the 1980s and 90s was tough, and the cultural shock significant, but at least the intellectual rigour of Oxford’s tutorial system had prepared me well for the verbal cut-and-thrust of the courtroom.
Part law enforcement agency, part societal glue, UK policing offers many different jobs within a single career. As well as developing my skills as a leader and operational commander, I was privileged to undertake several specialist roles. These included national Programme Manager at the Home Office, Staff Officer with Royalty & Diplomatic Protection, and Senior Investigating Officer for the Professional Standards Department (think ‘Line of Duty’ but without the more extreme plot twists).
In 2003, seeking to broaden my knowledge and experience of policing, I transferred to Hertfordshire Constabulary as a Superintendent. Some years later, having completed the Strategic Command Course, I was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable with Essex Police and undertook a full range of executive leadership positions. For the last two years of my service, I was appointed Deputy Chief Constable and Programme Manager for an ambitious transformational change programme, working across seven different police forces.
Having completed my policing career in 2017, I was soon itching to get back to work. Now I hold three complementary but different positions, working for NHS Resolution, the General Optical Council and as Independent Monitor for the Disclosure and Barring Service. Each of these roles, in their contrasting ways, supports the dual aims of protecting the public, and upholding fairness.
Meanwhile, I have never quite ‘put away my Lexicon’, retaining a passion for Classics which settled in my heart during those Oxford years, and was later reinforced by meeting and marrying a Classics teacher. No holiday season is quite complete I feel, if we have not set a sandalled foot on some ancient rocks somewhere across the globe. Although so old and seemingly familiar, there is always so much more to explore of the Classical World…. semper discamus et Floreat Exon.