From London to local: Bombing overseas inspires Swan Hill recruit

FOR some officers the drive to become a cop has always been there, for others it's something that comes off the back of life experience. 

For First Constable David Brown, it was being in the wrong place at the wrong time that pushed him towards the thin blue line. 

In 2005 the Mallee officer found himself one of the hundreds of thousands in the British capital for the London bombings.

First Constable David Brown joined the police force after the London Bombings and said he encourages Mallee locals to attend an information session this week to see if policing may be right for them. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

First Constable David Brown joined the police force after the London Bombings and said he encourages Mallee locals to attend an information session this week to see if policing may be right for them. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

In one of the most devastating attacks the city has weathered to date, the July 7 bombings saw London grind to a halt following a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, targeting commuters travelling on the city's public transport system during rush hour.

It was an attack which left the four bombers and 52 civilians dead, and 784 people injured.

First-Const Brown said seeing police response on the day inspired him to join the ranks of first the London police, and later, Victoria Police.

"Long story short basically myself and a couple of mates decided to go to America to play rugby," he said. 

"We were offered to play for a club that, if you played for them, they would get you a job. That led to playing in Ireland for a year and from there to London."

First-Const Brown said thanks to his ancestry residency wasn't an issue, and he took on a job with British Petroleum. 

Employed as the security manager for the directors of the company, First-Const Brown said they were "always under threat from Green Peace and animal rights campaigners".

"We would escort them to work and when they went out to events in the evening as guest speakers and things like that we would go with them and make sure things were okay," he said. 

"When the bombs went off, they shut down London really, that was quite an eye opener.

"Seeing how police reacted that day, because we kind of worked in conjunction with them, they were concerned about certain oil companies and were they a target.

"We always had a liaison officer we would contact and I got to a point where that was actually an avenue I wanted to explore, so I gave it a go and I got in."

First-Const Brown spent five years in the ranks of the London police, from April 2010. 

But, wanting to be closer to family he packed his bags and returned to Australia, joining Victoria Police in January 2016. 

First-Const Brown said the move came with "quite the learning curve", with a "huge" difference in the way the different organisations operate. 

"It is a whole different range of skills because in London itself there is actually three police forces, all tripping over themselves," he said.

"You only get your training on a baton and spray, and here it's, you have firearms, you have other bits and pieces as well.

"Over there it is more specific to what they need but here you need to cover a vast number of situations."

Now 44-years-old, First-Const Brown made the move to the Swan Hill Police Station in March last year. 

A country boy from New South Wales, First-Constable Brown said the Mallee has been a natural fit. 

It's an "attachment" of two years, but First-Const Brown said the culture at the station and Mallee way of life means he could very well end up staying longer. 

"I have really enjoyed the team work environment, the people you meet along the way in the police stations and out on the street, makes each day worthwhile, it's a lot of fun," he said. 

"There's a million and one different departments you can go into and get a taste for when you're in Swan Hill, you don't have the depth of some police stations down in Melbourne, that is understandable, but certainly in the area itself if you want to go down a certain route you only have to speak to your sergeants or senior sergeants or whatever and they will point you in the right direction for opportunities."

First-Const Brown said he has worked in general duties since his move into Victoria Police, completing a "couple" of courses and earmarking some future possibilities. 

"I have done a few courses here and there to get a feel for different departments, but it is just more so getting a feel for how operational duties work at the moment as well, making that adjustment, because technically I have only been out on the streets for two years," he said. 

"I'm still finding my feet and enjoying the learning, there's a great support network here, the supervisors are so helpful and so are the rest of the guys here on the team, everyone is so willing to help each other and that's what makes it a good environment to work in."

First-Const David Brown said he "absolutely" encouraged Mallee residents to attend the upcoming recruitment sessions in Swan Hill and Robinvale. 

"Come and see what is involved, age is no hindrance, anybody can definitely join up, you're never too old or too young for that matter -- as long as you're legal age," he said.

"It's open to anybody and we certainly encourage it, there are people older than me joining up and it's not an issue."

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