A police officer who balances motherhood with a demanding role planning royal visits and high profile events is urging other women to opt for a career in uniform.
PC Heidi Goldsack, 47, put her years of experience in the Army to good use when she became the first female North Wales Police officer to become a Dedicated Football Officer (DFO) in 2014.
The mother-of-two has worked in the force’s Operational Support Services Department at force headquarters in Colwyn Bay for the past eight years and juggles her responsibilities with a busy homelife.
During her former DFO role, she travelled throughout Europe during Wales’ history-making European Football Championship run in 2016.
She continues to manage the deployment of North Wales police officers at high-profile national events including the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, party conferences and VIP visits to the UK including that of former American president Donald Trump.
PC Goldsack is appealing for other women to follow her example as North Wales Police launches its latest recruitment drive.
The window for applications is open from August 18 to August 29 and details can be found on the North Wales Police website www.northwales.police.uk
She said: “I’ve been quite lucky with the roles I’ve had. I’ve visited so many different places with work from Cyprus and Tbilisi in Georgia, to Budapest, Ireland and Sweden for qualifying games in the Euros.
“I did all the logistics planning for the deployment of North Wales police officers to the Cop 26 (UN Climate Change Conference) event in Glasgow. When Donald Trump came to visit the UK, I did that all the planning for that particular deployment too.
“In 2011, I was deployed to the London riots and was one of the first North Wales female police officers to go down, there weren’t many female officers deployed at all, but I was one of them.
“It’s such an interesting and varied role. We have a lot of mutual aid requests and all the royal visits come to our department. We are always busy.”
According to PC Goldsack, she joined the police to help people and says she draws upon her own personal life experiences including the devastating death of her baby son Nathan at birth to relate to those in her care.
“Some people have never experienced loss and if you have someone there who has also been through not the best times then I think it really helps. Losing a baby is a very tragic experience,” she said.
“Sometimes I will go to jobs and people will think it’s ok for me, I have a good job. The reality is I grew up on a council estate and my mum was a single parent for a while. I’m not saying I didn’t have a nice life but there were times when we struggled, I had free school meals because my mum didn’t have much money coming in.
“If you’ve never seen what it’s like to not have very much, it’s difficult to really relate to those problems they’re having. I grew up in that environment and I think that makes me relate to people’s issues a lot more.”
Heidi left Ysgol Bryn Elian in Old Colwyn and aged 19 moved to London to work in Hospitality. She applied to go into the Army at the age of 21 and became a Private in the Royal Logistics Corps, undertaking her initial training at Mill Hill in London before being posted in Gütersloh, in Germany.
During her service in the Army Heidi tragically, suffered the loss of her son Nathan who was stillborn after a problem developed with the umbilical cord. Heidi later gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who is now 22 and living in London having studied at university there.
In 2003 Heidi returned to North Wales to establish a more settled life for her daughter that didn’t involve moving around. It was at this point she applied for a job in the police.
“Although I didn’t go into policing until later on, it was always in my diaries as a little girl that when I grew up, I wanted to be a police lady,” she said.
“I used to walk past the headquarters and say that’s where I’m going to work when I grow up!”
Following her training at Bruche Police Training Centre in Warrington, she was posted to Llandudno where she worked as a response officer for the next decade.
During her time on the team, she developed an interest in operational planning and played an instrumental role in organising the policing for the PSUK 10 Mile Road Race hosted in the town – where she met her future husband, who was a serving Essex Police officer and is now a detective in North Wales Police. They married a year later and welcomed their daughter into the world in 2012.
Following her maternity leave, she applied for a job in the Operational Planning Department and was successful. The job saw her become the first Female DFO for the force.
“I didn’t know anything about football. I was 40 with a baby at home and trying to do nightshifts is hard enough let alone when you have a new baby to come home to!
“When I started the DFO role, I was working every weekend and most of Wrexham’s away games. It’s a big job and you’re talking a lot of hours. In the 2016 Euro Football Championships, I spent almost six weeks in France. Obviously, nobody thought Wales would do that well but they absolutely smashed it!”
Her role at the championship earned her a South Wales Police Commendation for policing and the following year she received a Chief Superintendent commendation for outstanding conduct, professionalism and bravery for dealing with violence and disorder at a football fixture.
Last year, she was nominated by the force for the highly-coveted national Outstanding Contribution to Women in Policing Award.
Among the long list of qualifications she has secured while in the job is crowd and public safety management, public safety at festivals and mass gatherings, structured debriefing and football intelligence.
Heidi said she had experienced many moments in her career to remind her why she had chosen a policing career and encouraged other women to join up to the force.
“I remember going somewhere for lunch and a lady serving us said ‘I remember you, you’re a police officer’. I thought to myself, I hope it’s not someone I’ve arrested, but she explained how I’d come to her house after a nasty domestic incident and had turned her life around by having me tell her that she didn’t need to put up with the abuse. She said she had listened and did turn her life around and that to me makes it all worthwhile,” she said.
Heidi said the challenges she faced in her career today were more to do with the menopause but said the force had been hugely supportive and sympathetic to her struggles.
“I started going through the menopause last year. It’s very challenging at times, wearing the uniform in heat like this and when you have a really busy day but have been up all night with hot flushes,” she said.
“However, I must say that North Wales Police has been really good in that respect and very supportive. My male supervisors felt I would benefit from a two-day wellbeing break at St Michael’s Lodge and secured me a place. The force as a whole is much better at understanding what we go through.
“I love the team I work with. Everyone is supportive of each other and makes sure everyone’s ok.”
More details can be found on the North Wales Police website www.northwales.police.uk