A POLICE sergeant has been commended for his commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of his team.
Dyfed-Powys Police Sergeant Tom Grace is widely seen by his peers and managers as taking personal responsibility for the mental and emotional wellbeing of his staff.
Over the past 18 months in particular, a number of colleagues have credited Sgt Grace with helping them pull through difficult personal circumstances through offering his time in and out of work.
His passion for supporting his staff has been described as “empowering”, and has led to him being recognised at a commendation ceremony.
Sgt Grace, who joined Dyfed-Powys Police as a Special Constable in Cardigan in 1999, said: “I really enjoy my job. I’ve had bad days, the same as everyone, but I’ve always found myself working within good teams of officers, with support offered when I’ve asked, or someone has sensed I was down.
“Any role in the police service is a demanding one, and with the effects of austerity in recent years I have witnessed the impact of the strains of the job more so on people.
“I feel as a sergeant this is a key role where we can identify when support is needed. If I can provide that little bit of support or guidance, I’m succeeding.”
From a Special, Sgt Grace joined as a PCSO and then became a PC in 2007. He is now based in the response team in Llanelli.
Through his experiences across Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, he has adopted techniques and practices from his own supervisors, combining them to be the best leader he can.
He said: “It’s one of the hardest jobs, working in the police service, but certainly one of the most rewarding also.
“Not only my shift, but all those around me know – or at least I hope they know – they can always speak to me about anything, whether work related or not.”
Sgt Grace regularly checks on his officers’ workload, taking on tasks to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed, supports colleagues who have had time off work due to illness or injury, and even takes it on himself to ensure his team is catered for on duty.
On Christmas Day, he made a cooked breakfast for Llanelli town and rural officers to keep them going through the day.
“I am a great believer in the quote ‘an army marches on its stomach’,” he said. “We have all had those extended shifts, hours on end having not had a break.
“As a constable, and now a sergeant, I take steps to ensure officers receive either a refreshment break or food on the go.
“It’s a morale booster, and we all certainly work better fed than on an empty stomach. I find myself fortunate with a very supportive wife and family who have always assisted in this – a bowl of chilli, sandwiches for everyone at scene preservation, or sometimes a couple of extra plates of Sunday dinner, provided by my wife or mother-in-law.
“It’s the least I can do for all officers and staff that work tirelessly to provide a quality service.”