Changing times as RGP’s civilian support staff looks back
Of the RGP’s 35 civilian support staff, the one with by far the longest unbroken service is Angela Posso who started work in the police Immigration Department in June 1987 and has since worked for eight different Commissioners.
“In my 34 years working for the police, I have been aware of many, many stories about incidents that have taken place in Gibraltar - but, of course, my lips must remain sealed,” says Angela.
When she first joined the RGP, the Immigration Office was in Waterport Road but, after three years, she moved into the old Central Police Station (CPS) in Irish Town where she worked on police officers’ salaries and accounts.
“But the big changes came in 1994 when, within a matter of weeks, we moved from CPS to New Mole House and I started to work on computers for the first time – and then, shortly afterwards I went off on maternity leave.”
“In my early days it was all very different,” said Angela whose grandfather was a Crown Sergeant in the RGP."
“In those days the police force was organised into about seven big departments and many officers would spend their entire career in just one department. Not many people moved from one department to another. Things were quite formal and disciplined – for instance, everyone went silent if an Inspector entered a room - but we all had a good social life and saw lots of each other outside working hours.”
Angela changed to part-time working from 1995 till 2011 so that she could bring up her two children but, having returned to full time work in the Finance Department, she was promoted to EO in 2013 and then to HEO in 2017. She now has responsibility for Finance, HR, Administration and Estate Management.
“Society has changed a lot in the last 30 years and the RGP has evolved with it,” says Angela.
“Policing itself has changed – there are many more challenges and much greater use of technology. Today we have many more specialist departments such as Economic Crime, High Tech Crime, Money Laundering Investigation Unit, Safeguarding Team, Victim Support and so on.”
“Whilst I am pleased to see that we have recently had our first female officer promoted to the rank of Inspector, overall, the progress of women in the RGP has been slow. Still, there are now many more females in the RGP and they do many more front-line jobs. The other big change is that the Senior Management are much more approachable nowadays than they were when I first started.”
Angela says that another obvious change has been that all the Support Staff now have a uniform of their own – they all wear the RGP colours of a royal blue top or shirt and black trousers.
“A few years ago it was felt that RGP civilians should conform to a corporate image. We were happy to fall in line with this idea, especially as we were allowed to decide democratically on the colours and the style that we would wear.”
So, in her lengthy career in public service, why has she remained with the RGP and not moved into other areas of work?
“When I applied for promotion, I could have moved elsewhere moved elsewhere but, in New Mole House, it’s fascinating work as the RGP are involved in most things that happen on the Rock. Also, I have made many friends who will remain my friends long after I’ve retired.”
“The RGP have always been good employers – they allowed me to work part-time while I was bringing up my family.”
“But, do you want to know the real highlight of my career?’ she laughs. ‘It was in 2004 when police salaries were computerised! Until that point, we had to calculate everyone’s wages, including overtime, by hand.”
“Of course, there have also been some low moments in my career. Sadly, there have been a few officers who died whilst they were serving. I also look back on the time that officers were dealing with the ‘Fast Launch’ riots in 1995 which were shocking and scary. We worked very long hours to ensure that the officers had everything they needed to deal with the rioters – and also to make sure that they were paid on time.”
Despite all the job satisfaction she gets from her job, it is no secret that Angela is looking forward to retiring sometime in the next couple of years after 40 years in the Civil Service.
“But even when I leave New Mole House, everyone’s secrets will still be safe with me.”
This feature was prepared by the Royal Gibraltar Police as part of a campaign to highlight the work of its officers.