In 1980, Mr Powell left a teaching post at Loretto School in Musselburgh to take up a new career as a police officer in Lothian and Borders Police. He retired from the force in March 2010 after working in a wide range of uniform and CID roles, including Head of the Fraud Squad, Divisional DCI, Area Commander at Leith and Head of Events for the Edinburgh City Division. In the latter post Mr Powell led the planning and command of numerous high profile events in the City and was also one of the public order commanders responsible for dealing with the G8 disturbances in Edinburgh during the summer of 2005. He spent his last two years as Divisional Commander covering the 2 local authority areas of East and Midlothian. He was appointed to the Parole Board in August 2010. And was made the Board's Vice Chair in February 2014.