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Meet me: Jo Decrind

My policing career began in the 1980’s as a Special Constable in North Devon. I joined Dorset Police as a regular in 1996 patrolling Poole and Bournemouth until 2002 when I joined the Police Marine Unit. I served 5 years on the team returning for specialist roles for the Olympics and G8.

I transferred to Devon & Cornwall Police in 2014 predominantly working in custody before becoming the Project Co-Ordinator, Referrals lead and Instructor for Surfwell. I hold a number of national qualifications in water safety, mental health support, and other teaching qualifications.

Organisational change has meant I have recently returned to my role as a Custody Sergeant however, I continue passionately with my work on Surfwell at every opportunity. Developing myself and others in order to support, recognise and achieve potential is a real driver for me, and I thrive on making people happy.

Despite growing up in Buckinghamshire, childhood visits to Devon meant I fell in love with the ocean at an early age and vowed to “live the dream” some day surfing and working there. I now live my best life with my wife Monqiue and our two collie dogs, Fin & Lani in Devon.

If we are not at my local beach walking, surfing, SUP-ing, wing foiling, body boarding or hand planning we are off exploring new breaks.

Surfing for me is a way of life, it has taken me on adventures all over the world to some beautiful places such as Costa Rica, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Java, Bali, Lanzarote and France and given me opportunities to meet some incredible and inspirational people.

It is humbling, empowering and helps me feel alive and focused. I am absolutely no expert but I am passionate about the sport. I love it when I can help others to experience the emotions and feelings that surfing brings, whether that be the thrill of catching waves or the sense of peace and calm that comes with just being on the water. In 2021 I was a founder of the North Devon Slide Club in which we utilise belly boarding for all ages and abilities to support mental wellbeing in our local community using the ocean.

Some of my most traumatic life experiences have been as a result of bullying and the devastating effects it can have. I have also been to numerous traumatic incidents and seen many scenes that have culminated in triggering moments, especially those that reflect in my personal life. However, due to the nature of my work I have been able to recognise when I have needed help and not been afraid to ask.

I can honestly say that the “thing” that has kept me going when it has got really tough though, is my relationship with the ocean. I have absolutely no doubt of the positive effect surf therapy and the associated interventions can have on someone and how life changing it can be even for those who are terrified of the thought of throwing themselves to the mercy of the sea! Taking that leap of faith to do just that is huge and I am here to assist anyone who wants to take those first steps and however tiny those initial steps might be, “I’ll walk with you!”

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