Univ Dates: 2010-2013
Degree: BA PPP
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Detective Inspector at Thames Valley Police
Biography: Bethany (Beth) Sillitto previously worked as a Technical Account Manager for Microsoft. In the Police Beth has spent most of her time on Uniform Response but has also worked in Custody and on a Local Complex Crime team dealing with crimes like robbery and burglary. She is now DI on a specialist Domestic Abuse Unit. At Univ, her proudest achievement was achieving a First and she came fourth in her year in PPP. She also rowed in College’s First Eight and was Captain of the women’s side. Out of work Beth has done a number of triathlons since leaving Univ and her biggest passion remains scuba diving, which she has been doing since age 12.
How do you think Univ helped shape the person you have become?
I met some of my closest friends at Univ who I have no doubt I will remain friends with for life. At Oxford everyone has to work extremely hard for their degree, but Univ’s atmosphere made it feel like everyone was in it together and meant we always found time to “play” while keeping up with our work! I think that experience has contributed a great deal to my work ethic now and helps me to work hard in what is often an extremely demanding job, without forgetting to make time for socialising and relaxing.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time at College?
Winning blades in both Torpids and Summer Eights with the College 1st VIII in 2011 combined with the hard training before, the many celebrations afterwards and the amazing team bond with the other women I rowed with that year was an unbelievable experience I will never forget. I have the two painted blades on my kitchen wall to remind me of it every day!
How did you decide to switch careers from Microsoft to Thames Valley Police?
I enjoyed working at Microsoft and even met my fiancé there but after my cousin, whom I was extremely close to, died of cancer in 2014 I realised I wanted to do something I was passionate about, and that made a difference to people’s lives. I’d always thought about joining the police but had put it off when I was younger because I knew I wanted to get a degree. I decided it was never too late and applied the week after my cousin’s funeral. I have almost never looked back, apart from when my fiancé has his Christmas do!
Do you find your degree in Psychology (and Physiology) useful in your current job in the police force?
As a Police Officer I come across individuals with complex mental health issues almost every day and having some knowledge of the different disorders has been very helpful. I expect my degree may become even more applicable in the future as the Police are starting to try to understand human behaviour to influence approaches and tactics that we use.
What do you think the importance of the Young Univ Gallery project is?
I think it is important to demonstrate to the current and prospective students of Univ that there really is no career unsuitable or out of reach for a Univ graduate. I think it’s amazing going into Hall and seeing the old portraits juxtaposed with the recent alumni to really remind you that, having been to Univ, you are part of something special no matter what career you end up in.