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Lecturer Dave bringing three decades of police experience into new role

Dave Owens is inspiring Coleg Menai students in his new role as Public Services lecturer, after 30 years in the force

Dave Owens has joined Coleg Menai as Public Services lecturer after three decades as a police officer.

The Holyhead man has worked as a beat officer and detective, with his roles ranging from community policing to murder investigations.

One of the aspects he enjoyed the most was tutoring newly-qualified officers, and watching them flourish as they grew into their roles.

Dave now hopes to inspire learners to fulfil their potential at Coleg Menai, where he studied a leisure and business diploma after leaving school.

“I really enjoyed the college experience, and went on to do a degree and have a really enjoyable career,” said Dave, who started as a lecturer in September. “I hope I can pay a little of that back to the current college students, and they go on to have enjoyable and successful work lives.

“I joined the police aged 22, and retired after 30 years. When I was coming to the end of my time, I started to reflect on what were the things I really enjoyed about my job.

“Some people enjoyed the rough and tumble of working on a Saturday night. I was a tutor for a long time, which involved helping new officers learn from their experiences, guiding and mentoring them, and assessing their performance. That was really rewarding.

“The new officers come to a tutor for the first 10-15 weeks after training school. By the end of the 10 weeks you’d see them holding their own, patrolling independently and enjoying the role - and I got a kick out of that, seeing their success.

“So when I came out of the police, I wanted to find something along those lines - that’s the sense of achievement I was looking for.”

Dave teaches modules around how the emergency services respond to incidents, security threats to the UK, the effects of crime, criminal investigation, and planning for major incidents.

His real-world experience makes the course content all the more engaging for students.

He said: “The learners like to hear my stories, the experiences I’ve had. Real-life examples, whether they’re my own or those of people I’ve worked with. You can bring that into the classroom to a degree, although I do have to be mindful that they’re young people.

“But if they’re preparing to go into higher education or work, it’s important they gain a realistic understanding of what they may be getting themselves into.”

Asked what were some of his most memorable experiences as a police officer, Dave said: “Policing for so long led to all kinds of life experiences which were really unique.

“I was involved in all sorts, from helping community groups or young people on the wrong path as a beat officer, to being embedded on homicide enquiry teams and dealing with desperately sad incidents.

“I received a couple of commendations - but some of the most memorable moments were relatively simple ones.

“One that sticks out for me was when a schoolgirl and her mum came to the police station in Llanrwst, where I was working at the time.

“The girl was being bullied, and I can’t remember exactly what I did now, but a few weeks later I got a card from them thanking me and saying life had changed completely for her. It was gratifying to hear that.”

Dave, who is also an operations manager for the RNLI in his spare time, has lined up some fascinating guest speakers for his students. A counter terrorism detective has already given a talk, while victim support and specialist search officers are also due to visit Coleg Menai.

He is also planning a trip to Holyhead Port so learners can see first-hand how border security officers work.

For more information about studying Police and Public Services with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, click here.