In the moments after officers rescued him from the carnage of the Manchester Arena terror bombing, Josh Elliott decided to become a policeman.

The teaching assistant was planning a career in the classroom until that fateful night when he and his friends escaped from the Ariana Grande concert, physically unscathed, but changed forever.

Five years after that horrific night, the 27-year-old response officer serves in Crook, protecting people in their hour of need.

“It was a horrendous situation to be in,” he remembers, “but seeing how the officers sprang into action and put themselves in danger to get us to safety just made something click in me.

“I saw it as a way of turning a negative into a positive and I knew then that I had to go into policing.”

Read more: Children affected by Manchester Arena attack urged to share experiences

Josh had attended the concert with two friends and, thankfully, the group’s decision to hang back at the end of the show meant they weren’t caught in the deadly terrorist attack in the arena foyer where tragically, 22 fans were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.

It took the terrified group around 40 minutes to exit the arena.

The Northern Echo: Josh (left) will friends at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in 2017Josh (left) will friends at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in 2017

“We were literally walking out and just heard this massive bang and then saw the smoke and people started to run and scream,” he said. “No one knew what was going on.”

“There were about 30 or 40 cop cars there and I just remember thinking it was like an army of police who had come out of nowhere to get us to safety.

“They were helping us get out and making sure we were ok. They were just getting us away from the danger and carnage.

“It’s hard to explain but seeing it all was just crazy and I just remember feeling an instant wave of relief and thinking, these people are mint and I would love to be someone like that.”

Despite not knowing anything about the police, Josh researched the role and applied to join as a police call handler – taking calls from people in crisis just like he had been, to gain experience and further knowledge of what he would be dealing with on a daily basis.

Wanting to get more hands on, he then applied for the role of police constable and although initially being apprehensive about filling out the application due to his dyslexia, was supported all the way to make his dream a reality.

Josh never looked back, serving as a response officer with D Relief in Crook with the aim of joining the force’s Armed Policing Unit in the future.

As a response officer he responds to everyone who needs him, protecting people whatever the situation.

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The Northern Echo: PC Josh Elliott working at a pride event in the regionPC Josh Elliott working at a pride event in the region

A typical shift starts with a team briefing where Josh and his colleagues are assigned taskings, a quick check of emails and then they head straight out on patrol where they respond to incidents as they come in through the control room.

On a recent shift, Josh started with a voluntary interview at 8am before locking up a suspect for a domestic-related assault. After completing the handover package, he then went on to a mental health-related concern for safety incident, spending hours helping someone in crisis before returning to the officer to complete the paperwork.

“No two shifts are ever the same and sometimes you won’t get away for hours after your shift but the knowing you are helping people in need every day is really rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he said.

Josh said one job that stands out in particular was protecting a victim of stalking. He spent a year on the complex case but said the satisfaction in knowing he had safeguarded a victim was like no other.

Josh said he would describe the job as challenging, exciting and demanding and encouraged others who want to be the difference to apply.

“If this a career you’re seriously considering, go for it. There is no job like it,” he said. “That being said, you need to expect busy shifts, stressful and volatile situations, lots of paperwork and having to do tasks you don’t want to do; but it’s all part of the role, you can’t pick or choose. If you know you can handle all of that, apply!”

Want to be the next PC Elliott? Apply NOW at Police Constable (PC) ( You have until 5pm on Friday, September 2.

The Northern Echo: Emergency services at Manchester ArenaEmergency services at Manchester Arena

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