Superintendent Gill Murray
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a high ranking woman police
officer whilst trying to balance home life? Superintendent Gill
Murray, sub-divisional commander for the East region, shares her
experiences of policing and how the profession has changed over the
years. Here she talks about the challenges she has faced during her
career and the pros and cons of the job.
Superintendent Gill Murray joined
British Transport Police in 1990 as a PC and worked her way to the
top, being appointed as superintendent for the East Sub division in
2014. Here she talks about the challenges and the perks of the job,
how policing has changed over the years and how she manages to
strike a balance between work and life.
Can you give readers some background into what made you
want to become a police officer and what did you have to do to join
I grew up in a very small Scottish sea side
town, I was always interested in being a PE teacher, loved sport
and team sports in particular. I had two jobs that I worked after
school. One was in a supermarket and the other was in various pubs.
I became interested in customer and public service, which led to
junior supervisor positions.
A career in the police became an exciting
prospect when my brother joined the Metropolitan Police Service
(MPS) and a family friend was in the British Transport Police in
Scotland. I sought the hustle and bustle of city life, a complete
change from the sleepy world I came from and far removed from my
reality of 19 years. I wanted the challenge and I wanted to prove I
could do something bigger and better for myself.
Did you face any challenges in becoming a police
officer and also working your way up to becoming
Perseverance – I had some knock backs along
the way. I applied to several forces including Scotland and MPS, I
never gave up. The role at BTP came up first in the end. I started
at Victoria rail station, which was a challenge. I experienced
violent prolific offenders who tended to frequent the
station and more often than not any arrests or attempts to make
arrests would become violent. I learned fast, but not without
the knocks, a chipped tooth and a few visits to the dentist. It did
make me reconsider my position, but a good supportive sergeant
helped me keep going. I had lots of opportunities, early CID
attachments with busy BTP departments. Hard work, determination,
perseverance and some sacrifice helped me succeed.
I didn’t consider being a supervisor for 13
years I was having too much fun in specialist roles. It also took
me a few goes before I passed.
I also felt experience, knowledge and
credibility were key ingredients to becoming a well-respected
The promotion wasn’t easy and I found the
process tough, I learnt a lot about myself, about being resilient
and patient during these times, but the most important thing that I
learnt was to remain honest and true to myself, integral to my own
values and that of the service.
I have had good role models, good support and
those who believed in my ability, who have helped me learn a
variety of roles, pushed me a little during times when I perhaps
lacked confidence, gave me honest feedback and helped me find the
opportunities. This has all held me in good stead and how I have
reached the rank of superintendent.
What do you enjoy most about your role as
superintendent and what do you enjoy the least?
I really enjoy being able to make a
difference, having a voice for the people on the ground, the
ability to influence change, supporting our front line officers and
staff and being a part of the bigger picture. I enjoy working with
industry and stakeholders, finding new ways of doing things
together that helps make us a great national police
The restructure has led to increased
responsibility and with that comes more sacrifice; however, there
is much to sing about in being a superintendent that far outweighs
any negatives. I love my job. It’s fast it’s furious, it keeps me
on my toes and I am constantly learning every day. Working so
closely with colleagues from the industry at such an iconic
location at St Pancras/Kings Cross is very rewarding and demanding.
I wouldn’t change it.
How has policing for women changed since you started
I joined in January 1990. We were in skirts,
had handbags, wooden batons - half the size of a ruler that fitted
into your skirt pocket or handbag! grey overcoats and trousers,
which we would have to wear for when we policed football
The jokes of making the tea, dealing with
women and children were all true back then. There were only a
handful of female officers (WPC) in those days. How we have
progressed….. it’s fantastic to have been able to see that
As a high ranking police officer how do you manage to
achieve a work life balance?
It’s not easy there have had to be sacrifices.
I work long days, long weeks but I make up for that as often as I
can. I have chosen to move home a few times in order to
develop myself through promotion and I am glad I did, its opened my
eyes and perspective in BTP policing and how it differs between
divisions, sectors, sub divisions and departments. I find time to
keep fit, and socialise I have a great family and a good bunch of
friends that keep me young. Holidays are key and taking rest
when I can.
What advice would you give to young women thinking of becoming
a police officer?
Go for it, it’s a fantastic job! It’s changed for the better
since I joined, there are so many opportunities you just have to
work hard, be determined, resilient and be prepared to make some
sacrifice. Don’t be shy at trying new departments and roles it will
definitely give you that variety of experience that develops your
wider thinking and understanding of the policing world. Most
of all enjoy it!