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Employee Spotlight: Naomi Bolton

Welcome to the second edition of our employee spotlight series!

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This month, we spoke to Naomi from our Account Management team about her policing background, her current role at Cloud Gateway, and her recent charity work!

Let’s start with where you’re from.

I’m an 80s child originally from South East London, but now based in the East Midlands (after having spent my teenage years in Northern Ireland). I’ve been married for 16 years, have two beautiful girls, three cats and a dog! I met my husband while we were both Special Constables in Notts police. He’s now a serving Inspector in the Met.

I live in a quiet village in the countryside and love country walks, nature and animals.

Tell us a little bit about what you did before Cloud Gateway.

I’ve spent the majority of my career - 15-odd years -  as a serving police officer. I started as an operational officer with roles in response and neighbourhoods, before moving onto project work including Business Change Lead for an IT implementation project. 

I moved up through the ranks to Chief Inspector. I was a public order commander and enjoyed leading a team of officers on the mutual aid deployment to Blenheim Palace during the President Trump visit. 

In my last policing role I was Head of the Joint International Policing Hub and staff officer to the NPCC International Policing Lead. I made the difficult decision to leave the police in 2021. I then spent a year consulting with the police on various IT projects, before joining Cloud Gateway in April of this year.

Well, we’re very happy to have you. So what exactly is your role at Cloud Gateway?

I’m the Account Manager for Policing at Cloud Gateway, which means that my primary focus and responsibility is looking after our existing policing clients and ensuring they are receiving the best service possible from us.

What are you enjoying most about the role so far?

I love that the role allows me to focus on what I’m most passionate about, which is supporting police forces and helping them innovate and transform the systems that they rely upon to protect and serve the general public. I’ve seen first hand the opportunities (and challenges) created by the explosion of technology that we’ve witnessed in recent years. This role has given me an opportunity to help forces realise the benefits and remove some of the frustrations that serving officers are dealing with.

I really enjoy engaging with police forces, learning where they are at with their IT and network infrastructure, and seeing where we can help to make a difference. Each force is different, so each project is throwing up new problems for us to get to grips with and solve.

I’ve also been able to catch-up with some old colleagues through the role. I met lots of really wonderful, capable people during my time in policing (who I miss a lot), so it's definitely an added perk that I still get the opportunity to work with them, albeit in a slightly different capacity these days.

The role gives me the chance to help bridge the gap between operational policing, where most of my experience lies, and the IT and technical teams who are responsible for driving digital transformation programmes. The adoption of cloud technology is a critical step in modernising the tools, systems and processes officers count on to do their jobs effectively. However, it is not without its challenges, and that’s where Cloud Gateway can hopefully add some value.

Tell us about a typical day at Cloud Gateway for you.

I spend as much time as possible on the phone with customers or visiting them on site. In my experience, it’s the best way to get to know them a little better, build relationships, and to understand the sorts of problems they’re encountering. It is one of my favourite parts of the role! 

I was a panellist on our recent webinar too. It was great to be able to share some of the experiences I’ve had as a serving officer in the context of a more technical discussion around the adoption of new and emerging technologies. If forces are going to succeed in meeting the mandate set out by the National Police Digital Strategy, there needs to be a collaborative approach between all invested parties to make sure these reforms are delivering tangible benefits to the officers on the street, and in turn the general public. Conversations like those on our webinar are a great place to start!

Outside of work, how do you spend your time?

I spend a lot of time ferrying my girls to their various activities during the week - they have a far better social life than me! Though you wouldn’t believe it to look at me, I go to the gym three times a week and enjoy taking the dog for long walks. I also like to travel with the family when we can and enjoy exploring new places.

I think you’re being a little unfair on yourself there! What has been your favourite place to visit

Ah, good question. We were lucky enough to visit Thailand a while back to see my mate from university get married. We just had our eldest at that point. She was still a toddler back then but was so good with all the travelling. My friend arrived at the wedding on the back of an elephant!!

It was my first experience of a Thai Buddhist wedding. It was an incredible experience! They married in Bangkok, after which we all travelled as a group to Surat Thani where we stayed in hillside lodges and explored the river in canoes. We finished the holiday in Phuket, where we treated ourselves to a little more luxury and a pretty posh hotel!

The country was incredibly beautiful and so welcoming. It was a lot of fun travelling with my mates and I was so grateful for being able to experience Thai culture. They are actually renewing their vows this July so I'm really looking forward to catching up with my friends and celebrating with them again (although unfortunately not in Thailand this time).

Am I right in thinking you’ve just completed a charity hike? Tell us a little about that and the cause you walked for.

Yes, that’s right. On 23rd June I took part in the Light the Lakes charity event in aid of Care of Police Survivors (COPS). The Light the Lakes event sees teams of police officers, staff, retired officers and police friends light up the famous Wainwright Fells of Cumbria in memory of colleagues that have died.

Teams climb each of the peaks, and light flares at 3am in honour of those we have lost. I first did the event in 2020 with my colleagues from the Joint International Policing Hub, which I was the head of at the time. It was a real challenge as I don’t like heights or wild camping, but it was an amazing experience. 

This year’s hike was particularly tough! We saw a mixture of scorching sunshine and torrential wind and rain, so overcoming the elements was our biggest challenge. But, we had a very determined team and didn’t let the weather dampen our spirits too much! 

The initiative has given me the great honour of meeting the families of police officers who have sadly passed, and hearing the personal stories of how COPS has supported them through the worst of times. It was incredibly emotional to think of those who we knew and have lost, but an amazing opportunity to honour their memory and pay tribute to them.

What a great cause. Where can people donate if they want to?

We set up a JustGiving page for donations. We’ve raised over £2,000 so far, which is really great, but if anyone would still like to contribute then we’d be very grateful.

And, finally, we finish each spotlight series with one word that sums you up best. What would it be for you?

Caring

Find out more

Check out the webinar Naomi mentioned, here. Our panel discussed some of the biggest challenges facing police forces looking to digitally transform, along with potential solutions for overcoming them.

If you’re interested in joining the Cloud Gateway team, then please check out our job board. We’d love to hear from you!

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