“It feels like 5 minutes since I first put on my uniform on all those years ago.”

Sergeant Richardson first joined TeamNP in 1997 as a frontline response officer. Since then, Elliott has held several officer roles including response, firearms and armed response vehicle (AVR) officer, and custody Sergeant. Now, he’s a Sergeant of Neighbourhood Policing in Gateshead and Felling.

Born and bred in Gateshead, Elliott says he had always wanted to work and make a difference in the area he grew up in, and that his personal ties and knowledge of his “patch” benefit the team he supervises and the local communities he serves.

Our Neighbourhood Officers spend time getting to know residents and businesses and use a range of problem-solving skills to address community issues. These officers are at the forefront of preventative and proactive policing, tackling the issues that matter the most to our  communities and targeting those who commit crime in the places you call home.

Elliott says what he enjoys most about his role at TeamNP is “knowing that when I leave work at the end of the day, I have genuinely had an impact on someone’s life. Whether it’s closing a property known for anti-social behaviour (ASB), executing warrants or catching a car thief and returning stolen goods to their rightful owner.”

From night-time economy to the night shift, Elliott told us he had never thought of becoming a police officer when he was younger but that changed one night on the last bus home.

“I was on the bus home from my job at a pub and I was reading the jobs page in the evening Chronicle. I saw an advert ‘Join Northumbria Police’ and I thought wow, wouldn’t that be amazing. I applied in October 1996 and 8 weeks later got confirmation I’d been accepted. Who knows, maybe if I’d have got on a different bus and not picked up that newspaper I’d have never joined TeamNP.”

Throughout his years of service, Sergeant Richardson has received some well-deserved recognition including the National Police Bravery Award in 2018, commendations from the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and a judges commendations for bravery for capturing Britain’s most wanted man in 2003.

Working for TeamNP, Elliott says is “a very hard job but it’s the most rewarding. When a victim says that we’ve done a good job, those are the moments that matter the most.”

Elliott’s advice to anybody looking to take the leap and join TeamNP as a police officer is: “remember it’s not always about what qualifications you have or what you’re missing. It’s more about who you are as a person and what motivates you to keep the public safe and fight crime. If you’re driven to do the best to achieve that purpose, then this is a job for you.”

Working with our Neighbourhood Policing teams is just one of the many specialist roles you could consider when you’ve passed your probation.

Unleash your potential. Find out more about kickstarting your career as a police constable.