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Inspector 'happily immersed' in local policing after health battles

Stacey Pope is a Local Policing Community Inspector who has battled through multiple health issues, including three hip surgeries and diagnoses of hypermobility syndrome and osteoarthritis.

An Inspector approaching 20 years with Merseyside Police has overcome multiple surgeries and health setbacks to serve the people of St Helens.

With just five months to go before Insp Stacey Pope reaches this significant milestone, she opened up about her journey back to local policing.

After joining Merseyside Police in 2003, Insp Pope was promoted to sergeant in 2010 and was progressing nicely.

Though she had undergone knee surgeries after being bitten by a dog in 2005, her health really took a turn in the years following her first promotion.

Insp Pope underwent her first hip surgery in 2014, before having a further operation on her left hip in 2018, the same year as doctors confirmed she had osteoarthritis in both hips.

Two years later she underwent a third surgery to remove a piece of metal that had been left in during the 2018 operation. After each surgery she was unable to sit up for seven weeks to ensure she healed properly.

Insp Pope was also diagnosed with hypermobility in 2017. She's effectively had to learn how to walk again, and has injections to manage sciatica pain brought on by a prolapsed disc suffered previously.

And although she's frank about the challenges, the inspector couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

She told Police Oracle: "I’ve loved every minute of my time in the service. I am never going to be operational again, but the role I do I can do from a desk.

“The supervisors I have are very supportive, they trust me to manage myself."

Though Insp Pope's mobility issues led to her spending a period of time in a resource management role, she always had a hankering to return to local policing.

Of her desire to make a "tangible" difference, she said: “It’s all about trying to get those early interventions. St Helens is so deprived, and in local policing we are in the heart of the community."

The inspector's role, which is centred around "identifying threat, harm and risk", sees her work alongside a superintendent, chief inspector, a second inspector, four sergeants, around 35 PCs and a number of PCSOs. 

Each day she watches the previous 24 hours of crime footage, looks for any crime patterns, attends meetings and works with partners to support vulnerable people in the area.

Though Insp Pope is meant to start work at 7am, her health issues complicate this schedule.

She said: "It is really tough, especially over the last 12 to 18 months, where I've had to wake up an hour before I need to get up as my body doesn’t function."

As Insp Pope approaches two decades in the service, she has plenty to celebrate. She passed her promotion board last month, having previously been acting as a temporary inspector.

Not only is she "delighted" to move up the ranks, but the news is timely. Her inspectors exam - which she passed after eight years as a Sgt - was due to expire this year had she not passed the board. 

Thankfully, she "smashed" it and can now look forward. 

Though not in any rush, Insp Pope said: “I have always said that I would like to get to the next rank [chief inspector]." 

Whatever comes next, she's determined to remain "happily immersed in local policing".

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