Disability in policing is not a barrier
11 October 2018
A keen athlete, Paula, MBE, had joined the Metropolitan Police in 1986 and between 1995 and 2000 she had run six consecutive London marathons.
In 2001, she had a new career opportunity on horizon to look forward, but while training for a triathlon in May that year she was involved in a car accident when an 84-year-old man hit her from behind. She went over the bonnet and windscreen and was immediately knocked unconscious. When she woke up she immediately knew she was paralysed from the waist down.
At the time, she knew that the Metropolitan Police didn’t take back officers who had been seriously injured on duty, but she was desperate to get back to the job she loved.
Speaking to detectives at their annual seminar, she told how during her return to work she encountered issues with accessibility of police buildings for wheelchair users but she was determined that she would not been seen as different person to who she was before her accident.
Once she knew she could return to work, it inspired her recovery and she went onto to have a highly successful career as a detective, undertaking roles in intelligence work, murder investigation teams and the Counter Terrorism Command, rising to the rank of Detective Inspector. It was through the support of her force and her colleagues that she was able to continue with the job she loved.