Designated Detention Officer, Petula Barker

Petula has been working as a Designated Detention Officer (DDO) since October 2015 and is based in London.

Petula Barker

“The role of a DDO is really varied. I assist the Custody Sergeant with the booking in of detainees; when they come into custody, I take their photograph, fingerprints and DNA. I also help to arrange solicitors, appropriate adults, interpreters and doctors if they are needed.

“I provide the detainees their meals and drinks and provide guidance for detainees with alcohol or substance misuse issues. I also act as a court usher for when our virtual court is in session.

“I wanted to become a DDO because I wanted to make a difference and it sounds cliché but some days I truly believe I do. I knew more women were needed in these roles and I thought my empathetic attitude would make me suitable for the role.

“For many a first time custody stay can be very daunting. If I’m able to offer reassurance and be that person who will take the time to listen to their concerns and help in some way is the reason I applied for the post and enjoy doing the job I do.

“In my spare time, I catch up with my friends for nights out, go running and go to the theatre. I love spending time with my fancy goldfishes (11 in total!) and spend hours on my days off watching them swim happily around!

“I’ve also recently started to learn to play the harmonica. Although not everyone listening to me practice is keen!

“To me, International Women’s Day is a day where woman are recognised worldwide for their achievements and their fight for equality proud that woman are getting closer to their goal.

“I’m lucky enough to be reaching my own goal, as I am due to start as a PC any day now.”