Stuart Outten

Stuart gaming - Behind the Uniform

“We turn up in people’s lives in moments of crisis, panic and huge stress”

Policing is like no other job, people don’t see you, they see the uniform. They rightly expect you to know everything.  They don’t know if it’s your first day on the job, why would they?

They assume you’ve been to 100 domestics before, dealt with car crashes and massive injuries.  We turn up in peoples’ lives in moments of crisis, panic and huge stress. They need us to take control and say ‘this is what we’ll do’ while inside we may be thinking ‘I’ve no idea what’s going on here’. It’s like the swan, outwardly serene but paddling like crazy down below.

As a Police Officer, you represent something, and you have to live up to it.  I know that very well. My father was in the force for many years, he joined when I was 9 years old, so I grew up with it, heard all the stories. He was a proper Police Officer, in the Response team. I’m in Traffic so all I do is go around giving out tickets, attending car crashes and chasing people.

My Mum wanted to join up too years ago but couldn’t because of the height restrictions. So in some ways I was destined to do it. I just always wanted to help keep peoples’ lives normal, working in the background, dealing with the undesirables so others don’t have to.

“I’ve been called ‘Britain’s Bravest Policeman’ in the media, much to the amusement of my colleagues”

My fiancée is also an Officer, she’s got 2 years of service, so I offer my opinions when needed. We try to get the balance right and make sure we have a life outside policing. You have to relax and unwind as in our line of work we can’t have a bad day, we’re upholding the law, there’s no room for mistakes.

My hobby surprises people. It might not be what you expect from a Traffic Officer in London – my life is in a car, watching cars, sometimes chasing cars.  Off duty, I take things at a different pace. Steam locomotives are my passion.  Three or four times a year we’ll spend a weekend in the countryside visiting heritage steam railways. It doesn’t do much for my street cred, but it does mean I come back to London, and back to the job, fully relaxed.

After the incident in 2019, when body worn camera footage of my machete attack – and TASER saving my life – got wall-to-wall news coverage, people were very good to me.  The highlight was being invited to visit the famous steam locomotive, the Flying Scotsman, at the Nene Valley Railway and sitting on the footplate as she pulled out of the station.

I’ve been called ‘Britain’s Bravest Policeman’ in the media, much to the amusement of my colleagues, and I don’t take too much notice of the headlines.

After all these years, I’m still learning. Even now I have ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ days. Somehow I manage to come up with the right answers and help people out when they most need it. That will do for me; I wouldn’t swap it for anything.”

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Stuart Outten - Behind the Uniform

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