Case Study; Khurram - Hampshire response officer


Why did you choose the police and Hampshire Constabulary in particular, as a career?
 
Serving the public is in my DNA. I have always had an interest in Law Enforcement but, only until recently, did I feel ready to join the police.
In 2012 I joined The National Archives as a Security Officer, I really enjoyed my role there, so I decided to take my career further in the same direction by joining the HM Prison Service as a Prison Officer. After working in a multi-agency environment, I felt that I could use my skills and experience to serve my community as a Police officer.
There were several reasons to join the Hampshire Constabulary. Firstly, it was my home police force, secondly I felt that Hampshire needs officers from under-represented communities. Other forces around the country, especially the MET Police, have officers from differing backgrounds, so I felt strongly that I had a duty to step up and help the constabulary mirror the multicultural diverse community it serves.
 
How have the skills and experience you already had prior to joining, helped you in the modern police service?
 
I feel that my cultural and religious background, multi-language skills, experience in conflict management and decision making under pressure was a massive advantage not only for myself but my team, force and the community I serve. I was born in a Muslim family in Pakistan. Religion was always part of my upbringing. I am fluent in URDU, PUNJABI and HINDI. These languages helped me break barriers in my public facing policing role. My religious knowledge helped me clarify many concepts of ISLAM among my peers. This also equipped them with basic cultural and religious manners of different ethnic minorities of our community. My experience from HMPS gave me skills and confidence to deal with extremely volatile and dynamic situations.
 
What training routes were on offer to applicants? Which did you follow, and why?
 
I applied in 2016 for Hampshire Constabulary. At that, time there was only one standard route to join as a PC.
Applicants go through paper sifting and then an internal interview. Successful candidates then get invitation to national selection for police offices (SEARCH). This included English report writing, Maths, role-plays and final interview. Candidates successful complete their vetting, medical and fitness test. Once all cleared, candidates receive an offer and a start date for 15 weeks training at Netley.

What range of skills have you developed while on the job?
 
Being a police officer is not a job, it is a lifestyle and vocation. It comes with positive restrictions and limitations. Officers have the same powers on duty and off duty. This is a massive responsibility; social circles, associates, friends and even activities change.
My job helped me develop interpersonal skills, time management and prioritising tasks, decision making with a rational and role model persona.
These developed skills help me manage my personal and social life too.
 
What are the possibilities for career and personal development and/or specialising in particular roles? What are the usual timescales involved?
 
The possibilities for career and personal development are endless, it all depends on what an individual wanted to achieve and how much effort and work one invests in it.
During the first couple of years of probation, a student officer will have an opportunity to work with different departments of the force and learn basic skills. This also gives them opportunity to develop their interest for a specialist role.
Opportunities to pursue promotions or even fast track development scheme is also there for ambitious officers to go through the ranks. I have also had an opportunity to represent my force in national and international policing events. In short, being an officer from an ethnic background has never been a disadvantage for me.
 
Why do you think it is important that Hampshire Constabulary has a diverse workforce that reflects the local community?
 
Diversity and inclusivity is key to the performance of any organisation. It is even more critical when it comes to policing. Hampshire does not have a diverse workforce when compared to other forces around the country. Hampshire has been reaching out the last few years to diversify its work force. Several efforts been made and measures have been implemented to promote policing as a career in ethnic minority groups. Recruitment events, positive action support for applicants has improved diversity in our force. We still need people from all communities to join us and help us serve the public better.
 
Is there any special support available for BAME candidates?

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney is the force’s Race Champion. There are several support groups to meet the needs of everyone. BEAM support group is very active to support staff and officers from ethnic backgrounds and focuses on recruitment, retention and progression of BME staff/ officers within Hampshire Constabulary. 
BEAM SPOCS are the friendly faces, spread around the force to discuss any issues in confidence.
 
Have you faced any prejudices in the workplace at Hampshire Constabulary?
 
I have personally never experienced any prejudice within Hampshire Constabulary. I have always been treated with respect and fairness. The Professional standard department deals with all internal complaints and disciplinary issues. BEAM support group is also active to raise and address any issues.
Hampshire Constabulary do not have any room for discrimination and all complaints are dealt with promptly and robustly.
 
Is there much variety in what you do day to day?
 
As a frontline response officer, no one day is the same. We respond to all emergencies. One can never predict what to expect when we come to work. Police officers not only deal with crime but public welfare and vulnerability is a vital part of our day to day role. Missing people, concern for welfare, medical emergencies, traffic management etc… are very common.
 
What is it about your role that you enjoy and what motivates you most? And the downsides?
 
I enjoy all aspects of my role. It may sound strange but as a response officer, we go towards the danger and threat when everyone else is running away from it.
The best motivation for me is to know that when someone picks up the phone and dials 999 with the belief that a police officer will respond to protect them regardless of their race, religion, nationality or any other difference. 
Policing is a tough and challenging career. We get abused, we get assaulted and get injured too. You may have to work on public holidays and you may miss your family events, but it’s all in the line of duty.
 
How do you feel you’ve benefitted from choosing a career within the police service?
 
I have been involved with law enforcement for many years and joining Police service was my ultimate goal. I have benefited enormously from it on a personal and professional level. I found my purpose and sense of belonging with Hampshire Constabulary. The pride and honour to serve and protect is hard to explain through words, one needs to live through the experience to understand it. Professionally it is an excellent career with so much to choose from. I feel better financial stability and job satisfaction then I have ever felt before.
 
What advice would you give anyone who is looking to join the police service?
 
If you have ever thought about joining police as a career then now is the time. New generations of officers is changing policing all over the world. You will have an opportunity to start an exciting career along with a degree supported by the police service. To me, it is the best job in the world. Not many careers empowers you to be the first one to help in an hour of need. It is an honour and privilege for me to wear this uniform and serve.
 

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