Couple spend Days together

POLICE officers Anna and Andy Day are flying in the face of advice from all the experts by living and working together. But it seems that rather than being the exception to the rule the pair are among a growing trend of couples whose lives run in tandem.

POLICE officers Anna and Andy Day are flying in the face of advice from all the experts by living and working together.

But it seems that rather than being the exception to the rule the pair are among a growing trend of couples whose lives run in tandem.

It is estimated that up to three million couples in Britain opt for living together and sharing careers or businesses.

LESLEY INNES met the Days and found out how they enjoy sharing life with each other 24/7.

SOHAM police officers Anna and Andy Day spend every minute of every day in each other's company.

The husband and wife team has a partnership which extends beyond their home life to work on the beat.

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Their careers have become entwined since they met three years ago on the same shift and they now patrol the streets together as community beat managers.

"They say Anna is the brains and I am the brawn," said Andy, 36. "But we just work well together."

"In this job if you are living and working together it makes life easier," said Anna, 28. "If you are six hours late off work you know your partner is not going to go mad. He's going to understand because he understands the role."

The pair, from Cambridge, who have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, entered the police force through very different routes.

After leaving Preston University, Anna decided to pursue a career in social work. But she became disillusioned believing the profession was not offered the necessary resources to "make a difference". Four years ago she decided on a career change and joined the police force in Cambridge.

Andy's grandfather had been a detective sergeant with the force in Cambridge and, although he died before Andy was born, the family told stories of his career.

Inspired by his grandfather's work, Andy joined the volunteer cadet corps at 15 and served for two years.

But eventually he chose a career in catering and went to college where he trained as a chef. After serving his apprenticeship at Girton he spent 11 years working at Jesus College.

But a television campaign promoting the police force struck a chord with Andy and five years ago he decided on a career change too and joined the police.

Before joining the East Cambridgeshire force, Anna and Andy served with the reactive team in Cambridge, attending 999 calls and dealing with everything from road accidents to pub fights.

"After a while it becomes really routine," said Anna. "You seem to be going to the same incidents.

"It was reactive work and we weren't getting the chance to do anything proactive. Now we are enjoying working in Soham because we are making a difference."

But when Anna and Andy first discovered they were being transferred to Ely sector they were not over enthusiastic. "It was a shock when we first came out here," admitted Andy. "But on a day-to-day basis there is more variety of crime than in Cambridge city. When you're working the city patch you're dealing with shoplifters, drunks and beggars. It's very tedious." said Anna.

"We were told we were coming for a three-month attachment. But after we had been here for a week we knew we wanted to stay."

The pair soon realised differences between working in the city and a rural area when two weeks into their new posting they needed to detain a person under the Mental Health Act.

"When you are in an area like Cambridge if you call for assistance someone is likely to be there in 10 minutes," added Andy. "Here you can wait for half an hour. It's just the sheer distances involved.

"We needed to call for back-up and the man was getting more and more agitated and we were fearing for the safety of the people around us. We had to judge the situation and a lot of it is just how you talk to people."

The pair believe working in Soham has helped them develop communication skills which are constantly put to the test.

"Youngsters come and talk to us and we try to find out what they want," said Andy. "They say they just want to hang about and would like a shelter to meet. But there is a resident in Soham who is petrified and doesn't want to go out because they are gathering outside her house. They don't understand that."

Despite their shared life, the pair have different career ambitions which could eventually lead to their careers taking different directions.

Andy wants to take his sergeant exams while Anna has ambitions to work with rape victims and on more community-based incidents.

"We don't want to be seen as Andy and Anna," added Anna. "We are treated as individual police officers.

"There used to be a time when couples were kept apart in the police. But that doesn't happen now. When we were asked to come out to Ely they knew we worked well together and we would be happier together.

"At the moment we are enjoying working in Soham and working together. We are both committed to making a difference.

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