WHETHER we like to admit it or not, every one of us can harness a hostility towards being told what we can and cannot do.

The majority of us, however, are understanding of the need for certain ground rules which help maintain law and order.

Despite this, the police force and the role it plays in our society can consistently divide opinion.

When a criminal is busted for dealing drugs, any fury they hurl towards the officers who have caught them is perhaps predictable although unwarranted.

But then there are the armchair commentators or the faceless keyboard warriors who, having never committed a crime, still boast a strong dislike for the police.

As a result, over time, it almost feels like it has become par for the course to incite hatred towards the police.

Between 2018 and 2020, police officers working throughout the country were assaulted more than 60,000 times, with many of the attacks resulting in injury.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Discarding any bad apples who tarnish the police’s reputation, I like to think the majority of our officers have the public’s best interests at heart.

The statistics serve to confirm the extent to which officers have been dehumanised and are now seen as the enemy, as opposed to what they are - people. More than that, people who seek to serve and protect society.

“Some of the abuse we can get is really horrific but you can’t let it get to you,” said Clacton’s PC Sam Harris, 32, who has been in the police force since he was 18, having always wanted to join.

“Once I had to attend a scene where a child drowned in a swimming pool and then a couple of hours later I was at a cardiac arrest but people do not think about that.

“We are here to help people, not just arrest people but sometimes we are just seen as enforcers, but I know I do my job and I do my best.

“You cannot let it get you down because it would be too much, so you need to be able to switch off from it.”

Outside of his shifts PC Harris is a father to a one-year-old daughter, who he considers his “priority”. He is also an Arsenal fan who runs his own six-a-side football team and is a keen fisherman.

He believes any lack of confidence in the force comes from a lack of knowledge of the positive work they do and the people behind it.

He added: “If someone has a good experience of the police, they will tell one person.

“If they have a bad experience, they tell everyone and plaster it everywhere and I feel that is wrong.

“Some of it is warranted, but everyone can make mistakes.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Like PC Harris, SC Jaye Jacobs, 26, also has a child, who is three and loves to regularly go to Colchester Zoo and make the most of her their gold card.

Due to being a special, however, the Tendring Council worker does not get paid to be on the beat, and instead does it purely for the love of it.

She added: “I guess this is a hobby in a way because I would not do it if I did not enjoy it - I do it to give back.

“There is an enjoyment to it because you are out there doing something good and helping people.

“But then there are people who do forget there is a person behind the uniform.”

Although not everyone may agree, Officers such as PC Harris and SC Jacobs are a firewall, preventing criminals from profiting at other people’s expense.

The work they do in keeping us safe with the Clacton Policing Team and beyond, helps us sleep at night without fear of what might happen when we close our eyes.

It is one of the reasons why PC James Stockley, 34, decided to become an officer in the first place, about seven years ago.

“I had just worked office jobs before and I saw the force was recruiting, so I thought I would give it a go and I got lucky,” he added.

“It was something that I had thought about doing when I was younger

“You do a lot of good and help a lot of people and that is why we all do it.

“The death side of the job, however, is the hardest part and can be really emotional.”

SC Zoe Walker, 26, who has two daughters aged one and four and works in a restaurant, also joined to impact her community in a positive way.

She said: “I have always wanted to do it and I just like helping people that need help and meeting new people.

“I really enjoy it and I want to join full-time when my girls are older, but I also work on the side, so I definitely have quite a hectic life.”

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Prior to the Government’s pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers, 23,500 police jobs had been axed since 2010, according to figures from the GMB police union.

PC Harris says the cuts obviously do not help the force’s capacity to respond to as many incidents as they would like to.

Nonetheless, he has reassured residents the police will always commit themselves to protecting the public and to the vital role they play within the community.

He added: “Policing is a good job, but it does have its difficulties and we are quite understaffed at times and we are having to work long hours.

“Clacton, for example, gets busier in the summer, but we do not get any more police to help police it – if there is one big incident, it will wipe all the officers out.

“I have seen a big cut in policing since I started, when we were down to really low numbers, but it is coming back up now.

“You can never have enough officers I don’t think, but either way we try our best to do as much as we can.”