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International Women's Day 2024: Meet Temporary DCI Marianne Winn

This International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce temporary Detective Chief Inspector Marianne Winn.

Working in Counter Terrorism Policing East Midlands, DCI Winn is our Protect and Prepare Lead and Regional Senior Ports Officer. She works to mitigate the impact and manage the consequences of a terrorist attack in the UK, as well as keeping our Ports safe in the East Midlands.

1.Who inspires you?

If I had to name one person, I’d say my Mum had a massive influence on my career, and life. She was my very best friend in the whole world and she died saving my life in a horse riding accident when I was 11. I don’t think you can get much more significant than that really and it obviously has entirely shaped who I am today in a million different ways. 

I am so lucky to have so many role models in my life. So many people who have supported me, strode ahead of me clearing a path, and people who have shared their wisdom. I don’t have a single “inspirer” professionally, but I am inspired every day by the people around me. I know that sounds so cheesy but every day I encounter people who make me think, “I need to be more like that.”

Whether its people pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones, accepting challenge with absolute grace, juggling a million different priorities and challenges from life and work and still focussing on others. There are so many colleagues in policing that I have had the privilege to work with who I admire for their work and skill and professionalism and, upon getting to know them, I discover huge personal challenges, commitments, complexities or accomplishments that I would never have imagined, and the combination and their resilience and dedication puts me in absolute awe and inspires me to do better and be better.


2. Why did you join the police?

I have always had a really passionate view on justice / injustice. At school I was never able to watch someone be mean to someone else without intervening, so I think I wanted to join the police most of my life. I certainly remember telling a career coach that in secondary school!


3. Did you face any challenges when you decided to join?

When I actually made the decision to join the police I’d just done a very expensive post graduate course for a different profession… So my biggest challenge was explaining to my amazingly supportive Dad that that money was down the drain!

I think I’m extremely fortunate that my family dynamic never allowed for challenges based on gender. My brother never held his punches because it was his little sister fighting him rather than his brother, I was never allowed to put up barriers to anything based upon being a girl and so I honestly don’t think I saw them.

That’s not just my great family, despite appearances I’m actually not that old, so when I joined the police it was very different to when my Grandma (pictured) was the Superintendent in charge of what was then the East Midlands Women’s Police Force!

You might not know this, but women were usually given a handbag when they joined the police, as part of their uniform. But I didn’t get a handbag, in fact I remember riding around in a van once and saying something about the infamous bag, and my sergeant at the time laughing because he “just couldn’t picture me as a handbag kind of person.”


4. What do you enjoy most about your role?

What I enjoy most about being a police officer is seeing the difference. Knowing that something I’ve done has made life better, even if just for a little while, for someone.

Whilst this will always include members of the broader public, I also now really enjoy the scope I have to support and develop colleagues and see them achieve. Helping people, in whatever form, is still what motivates me and makes me happy.


5. Along the theme of ‘inspiring inclusion’ this IWD, what can the police do to more of to create, attract and retain a more inclusive workforce?

I think policing is definitely getting better at this but there’s always more to be done.

Policing is, always has been, and will always have to be, a 24/7, 365 job. A large part of it is about doing things that others can’t or don’t want to.

If we can make life better for the person next to us at work, just like we seek to do for the public, we should.

I also think it’s vital to never get complacent. I think for people who have been fortunate, like myself, to have very few negative experiences with colleagues that go beyond personality to who I am, it can be too easy to think, “it’s not like that anymore”, “why would anyone still feel that way?” and almost put the whole thing the wrong way round.

Fundamentally if someone tells you there’s a problem, start by just accepting there’s a problem.


6. If you were to give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

I’m not sure I’m sage enough to give my younger self advice! I try to give my current age self advice and I still don’t listen to it and I’m a lot less stubborn now than I used to be…!

I know I need to remember that feedback is a gift when it comes from someone you respect (you don’t have to like them). But also that the real top level actionable, maybe actually worry about it, feedback only comes from people who you respect and who really know and understand you.

Overall though…I think sometimes I’m getting better at accepting, I’m doing ok, so maybe that’s the advice!


7. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love being in the middle of nowhere surrounded by my family (inclusive of 4 legged friends), so when things are tough, a walk when I see no one else, no buildings, no cars, is bliss and just lets me breathe.

I do also very much like to employ a similar tactic on the back of a horse, but this is often at a much greater speed and so slightly less relaxing at the time.


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