A TEENAGER is proving that hard work and determination are the key to success as he prepares to become Durham Police force’s youngest call handler.

Scott Bowes has always had an interest in policing and joined the Durham Volunteer Police Cadets when he was just 14.

As a cadet, Scott was able to experience different community safety events from a policing perspective and with his ultimate goal of becoming a police officer, he even spent some of his holidays in America on work experience.

This involved shifts with officers from the Sandusky Police Department, a ride along with a Deputy Sheriff in Ohio and shadowing an officer in a correctional facility in Erie County. Scott said the experience was “intense” but fascinating.

When the teenager finished school with good grades, he initially started sixth form but decided the traditional educational route was not for him.

Instead, he applied for one of the force’s apprenticeships and started his role as an IT technician in February 2019.

Scott, of Durham, has excelled in his role but throughout his time helping call handlers, he knew this was a role he wanted to experience with his interest in operational policing.

He said: “The force control room is where it all happens and as a call handler, you are the one person that caller is going to be speaking to so you could be the difference between that experience being good or bad.

“I want to make a difference to where I live and I think that is the best way I can do that until I’m old enough to get on to the streets as a PC.”

After shadowing call handlers, Scott spoke to his manager Mark Woodall and control room chief inspector Sue Robinson about the possibility of applying.

But there was just one problem – with the rules around the length of shifts, applicants have to be 18 to apply and Scott is only 17.

Showing his determination to achieve his goal, Scott did not let this deter him and along with the help of the two managers and other senior officers, he took his case to the top.

He said: “Because I’m not 18, I cannot work certain hours due to the European working restrictions so I had to make my case for an exception.

“There was a meeting between senior members of staff and they managed to alter my shifts so I could take up the role which I’m really grateful for.”

Scott added: “They were really supportive and it really fits with chief constable Jo Farrell’s values to be inclusive as they really helped me and adapted to allow me to achieve my goal.”

Scott will take up his new role in January, three months before his 18th birthday.

“I’m really excited to start,” he said. “It’s going to be a real challenge and I hope to gain a deeper insight into the role of our PCs.”

Chief Inspector, Sue Robinson added: “We are delighted that such a talented young man like Scott is joining the team of call handlers.

“We are always pleased to identify young talent both within the force and externally and showing that age is no barrier to this role if you have the grit and determination to succeed."

“With the excellent training we provide, it won’t be long before Scott is taking calls and making a difference to people’s lives.

Scott plans to apply for the role of PC when he feels ready – and is over 18 – but encouraged anyone interested in the role to apply.