A soon-to-be law student was given a unique insight into the average day of a local police officer when she went ‘along for the ride’ in a patrol car.
Charlotte McClelland (19), who has just scored four A grades at A Level, was the winner of the Craigavon Ridelaong, advertised on the PSNI Craigavon Facebook site.
And on Saturday, the Ridgeway Park South teenager, who had never even set foot in a police station before, experienced the whole gamut of frontline policing - from a heart-stopping 100mph ‘blue light run’ to helping reunite a lost dog with its owners.
Said Charlotte, “It was amazing. I don’t think the police get enough credit for what they do on a daily basis.
“There was more happening in a day than I could have imagined. I was exhausted when I came home!”
Charlotte, who accompanied two officers in an unmarked police car for a 9am-6pm shift, was given a first-hand insight into the job of local officers.
Among the calls she attended were neighbourhood disputes, criminal damage, alarm activation and drink driving.
She also met police dogs and their handlers and visited the control room in Armagh as well as being treated to lunch by Superintendent David Moore.
She said, “The control room had a whole wall of cameras from different towns. I was able to watch what was happening in different areas around Portadown and see the parade going through.”
As for the ‘blue light run’, that came about after police received a 999 call that there was a suspected drink driver on the A1. Said Charlotte, “We didn’t reach them but we heard later that a different police car had caught them.
“Our driver was so focused and concentrated on what he was doing and even though we were going at 100mph I knew I was in good hands.”
Charlotte, who is going to the University of Law in London, would consider a policing-related career but added, “I suppose as a solicitor, I will either be putting people into prison or keeping them out!”