“Some of the most difficult days are when we have looked at harrowing images, we’ve listened to victims’ statements and they’ve been subjected to some really terrible abuse.”
Inspector Cate Webb-Jones is from our public protection unit which investigates crimes such as domestic abuse, child cruelty, sexual assaults, stalking and indecent exposure.
Even for someone with almost 30 years of policing experience there can be accounts and images which can be emotionally difficult to deal with.
But it’s supporting victims recovering from both physical and psychological ordeals, and getting justice for them by catching offenders, which drives Cate and her colleagues on.
“Some of the best days for me as a police officer in West Midlands Police is when my investigative teams convict someone at court.
“I’ve got a fantastic team of investigators that work tirelessy and diligently to bring offenders to justice and safeguard the vulnerable.
“Those are the days when I’m really proud when we have a great result at court knowing we’ve brought the offender to justice.
“The disheartening days are when we can’t get the evidence together, the evidence isn’t available to us to bring offenders to justice, because we are there to protect the vulnerable from further harm.”
Cate has worked in a variety of departments ranging from a beat bobby to her current role where she oversees more than 70 officers.
Cases can be disturbing and it’s important to use all resources available – including forensics to ensure offenders are punished.
“One of the jobs that I’m most proud of is one of the recent jobs that an investigator led on, it was a rejected stalker investigation,” she said.
“That means the relationship had broken up and the perpetrator was trying to reconcile the relationship but they felt themselves they were a victim.
“The suspect was denying all his behaviours and suggesting that the victim actually was an aggressor.
“So with some really good digital forensics we were able to prove not only the repetition of calls and contacts made, there were fake profiles created by the suspect to try and reconnect and watch the victim. There was also a remote camera being accessed in the victim’s home that the suspect was actually watching her on.
“So whilst he did initially deny these behaviours the digital forensics was so overpowering that the suspect then changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.”
Mother-of-one Cate is due to retire from policing later this year, but she intends to continue working in other roles utilising her skills and knowledge. She may even get some time to continue her love of running which she finds is good for both her physical and mental well-being.
However, the 49-year-old is pleased she followed her chosen career path.
“I’ve been working for WMP for nearly 30 years, in fact this is my last year working with WMP as a police inspector.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a diverse range of roles and responsibilities from frontline policing to operational planning for force events.
“I’ve been a hostage and crisis negotiator and certainly in the last six years I’ve invested my time in public protection, and looking at public protection investigations so that we can safeguard the vulnerable from harm.
“I think that it has been a great career, one I’m certainly proud of and it has been really exciting… challenging at times but very rewarding.”