Nearly 50, he feared she’d left it too late to switch to a career in policing, but her application was successful and she couldn’t be happier.
“I didn’t think I’d get in because of my age,” admitted the 49-year-old, who previously worked in management at Laura Ashley and M&Co.
“I just assumed I was too old but I thought I’ve got nothing to lose and so I applied. I’m so glad I did as here I am and I couldn’t be more excited to get going.
“I was worried I’d feel and look quite old when I first arrived for the training course, but that’s not been the case at all. I don’t feel inferior in the slightest. If anything, I feel quite wise because of my age.
“It’s good Nottinghamshire Police value older officers as well as the younger ones. Sometimes people want to deal with someone who’s a bit older because they might be that bit wiser.”
There's no upper age limit for applying to the police service and Liz’s previous career experience, coupled with her desire to help others, made her a stand-out candidate.
“I seem to have quite a good rapport with the public,” she said. “I had to be like that when I was in retail management. If you’re right with people, they’ll be right with you – that’s how I see it.”
Yesterday, Liz was among 20 new recruits who officially became police officers at a passing out parade at Nottinghamshire Police’s headquarters in Arnold, having completed a 19-week training programme.Liz said: “The training’s been really good. At first, I was like a fish out of water. Everyone in the cohort was the same but we’ve all settled in now. We’ve all gelled and bonded together so well.
“They all call me ‘mum’ because I’m the eldest in the cohort, but they’re such a lovely lot.
“Many of them will have 30-year careers in the police and I’ll probably get about ten years. But if I can make a difference in that ten years, I don’t think it matters.”
Liz was keen to change careers due to the problems faced by the retail industry and applied to Nottinghamshire Police after seeing a neighbourhood cop in action.
“The officer was looking for two lads who had given him the run around. We’d seen the two lads and so approached the officer and offered our help. He did catch them and I said afterwards to my husband, I think I could be a police officer. He’s always had so much faith in me and he said ‘you can do anything you want, Liz’.
“With that support, I felt I needed to give it a go. I did actually think about joining the police a while ago but then my daughter came along. She’s 14 now and gets herself to school now, so I can put in 100% now.
“I got to the point where I thought if I don’t do it now, I never will.”
Having now fulfilled her dream and become a police officer, Liz will be joining the neighbourhood policing team at Mansfield police station.
She requested the role as it involves getting to know local people, organisations and issues – and then using that understanding to better protect the community.
Liz revealed what local people could expect from her.
“I’m always myself and very cheerful. I’ve also got a very good work ethic and I always put 100% in.
“It’s a plus that I get paid, but it’s enough for me to know I’ve helped somebody. I don’t know if that’s always come across in policing. We’ve had talks to say we need to change the way policing is perceived by the public. We need to be more community-orientated and bond with the community, because they’re not going to help us if we don’t help them.
“That approach ticks all the boxes for me as it will enable me to go home each day and feel I’ve done a good job.”
Family members proudly looked on as the new recruits passed out as police officers
Asked what advice she’d give someone who wanted to join the police but feels they are too old, she said: “Don’t hold back. Everybody makes you feel so welcome. If it’s what you want to do, go for it!”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said he was delighted Liz had decided to pursue a new career in policing.
He said: “We are very happy that PC Spencer-Creed has joined our ranks. Whenever we look to recruit new police officers, we look for people who are compassionate, resilient and above all dedicated to making communities safer places to live, work and visit.
“Having met PC Spencer-Creed at the passing out parade, it is clear she has all these qualities in abundance and I am very confident she will prove to be a fantastic police officer.”
Nottinghamshire Police says it is seeking individuals with outstanding talent and skills to ensure that ‘they are both representative of and are able to deliver excellent services to our community.’