Five years ago, on a hot summer’s day, I was standing overlooking the beach at Bournemouth and I just thought what a great place to live and work! At the station on my way home, I got talking to an officer who said BTP would soon be recruiting and he encouraged me to apply. So I did and six weeks later I was booking on for my first duty.
It was a big contrast to Croydon where I was a response officer but I love variety. I’m always keen to experience new things – with the Met I worked in a gangs unit, a Safer Neighbourhoods community police team and I was a firearms officer for a while in the Parliamentary Protection Unit. I did 10 years with the Met but moving to BTP has been a great decision for me.
I love to travel and work in different parts of the country – after Bournemouth, I moved to Lancaster and I’m currently working in the Positive Action Recruitment Team (PART) based in Manchester. I love change and seeing where life takes me. I became a police officer after wandering into a big careers event in a London park and chatting to an officer on a Met Police stand – I took an application form, passed the interview and the training, and before I knew it I was being fitted for the uniform!
When I started at Bournemouth I was the only black officer there. I was a bit concerned about moving from London to Dorset but I experienced very few incidents of racist abuse from the public, and never anything from colleagues, so it was a good experience.
I’m definitely proud to be a police officer. I’ve had positive comments out on patrol from people saying how good it is to see a Black or Asian officer. I’ve also gone into situations where being Black has helped to diffuse tensions because the person sees an officer who looks like them, there’s a connection. It’s really important for policing to represent the communities we serve.
Changing things for the better is a big motivation for me. My current role with PART gives me an opportunity to support colleagues with the recruitment and promotions process. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about Positive Action - we’re not giving people an extra advantage, we’re levelling the playing field and enabling a more diverse range of people to have the confidence and skills to apply and be successful.