Inspector Ritu Sharma

When did you join BTP and where was your first post?

I joined BTP in 2004. I was first based at Heathrow police station in the neighbourhood policing team.

What made you want to become a police officer?

The honest answer is I couldn’t get a job relating to my degree. I then saw an ad for BTP so I applied and got in. I initially thought I’d do the job until a position relating to my degree came up, 13 years later I am still here. The type of people that the Force was looking for was exactly what I could bring to the organisation.

Quote-2 My parents were really unhappy I was joining the police force, to the point they didn't want to tell anyone I was a Police Officer.

Ritu

 

Quote-2 Thirteen years later my parents couldn't be prouder. They've got used to the idea now and know how hard I have worked to get where I am. qupte

- Inspector Ritu Sharma


 

Did you face any pushback from your family or friends when you decided to start a career in policing?

Yes definitely. My parents were really unhappy I was joining the police force, to the point they didn’t want to tell anyone I was a Police Officer. My mum was worried about me and about the sort of challenges I could face. They really tried to persuade me not to join, even up until the day I was off to training school. I remember my mum saying “You’re really doing this aren’t you?” I was so strong and just felt like I had to follow my heart. It sounds really cheesy but it’s true.

I remember feeling very upset on the day that all the new officers were being sworn in. My colleagues were getting phone calls from their proud family but I remember going back to my room and missing my late granddad, who I knew would have been so proud of me. I told my dad I wanted to go up the ranks and be a leader. My dad said ‘they will never promote you’. Thirteen years later my parents couldn’t be prouder. They’ve got used to the idea now and they know how hard I have worked to get to where I am.

Was it difficult working your way up the ranks whilst balancing the demands of a young family?

I have a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl – it’s not easy! However, I have had great support from colleagues and those senior to me. I would love to list all my seniors and colleagues but the list would be too long! Apart from my line managers and my mentor I would give the most credit to my husband Raj, who has been my support. He has advised and supported me through these years and without him I couldn’t have done it. He has, selflessly, in the past put his career on hold just so I can take up roles that would help me move forward. He has taken the role of a mother in many ways and I am very lucky. I have had endless support from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They fully support my shift work and long hours and help with childcare.

How do you think policing has changed for women since you joined and what advice would you give to people who are thinking of joining BTP whilst juggling a busy home life?

I have generally had a good experience right from the start. I have had brilliant colleagues from day one. I think more work could be done for women who decide to take maternity leave and focus them and give them some confidence on their return. I think that was my stop point in my career and, thinking about it, I should have kept on moving as opposed to staying static for four years. My advice would be ‘do it’. The support is there, however, it is give and take. It’s not easy but it’s very satisfying to be able to do a day job and go back to running a family. It makes you stronger as a person and resilient and an excellent role model to your children.


Quote-2 It's not easy but it's very satisfying to be able to do a day job and go back to running a family. It makes you stronger as a person and resilient and an excellent role model to your children. qupte

Ritu 1


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I am ambitious and would love to move up the ranks, however I want to spend some time learning and being really good in a wide variety of roles. I am aiming for Superintendent rank but it will all depend on how well I do at each rank. I want to be a really good Inspector first with lots of experience in different departments.

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