• Sunday, July 03, 2022

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TVP’s Positive Action and Engagement Team has grown in 2022

By: Eastern Eye

At Thames Valley Police (TVP), we aspire and are working hard towards having a police force that truly reflects the communities we serve. Our region is increasingly diverse and it is important our workforce reflects this, ensuring our officers, staff and volunteers are approachable and relatable to our communities.

Our force has further invested in its Positive Action and Engagement Team (PAET) following a successful two-year pilot started in 2019. The team was set up just prior to the announcement of the National Police Officer Uplift Programme in October 2019, as the force recognised a need to improve representation to reflect the diverse communities it serves.

The team now comprises of six serving Police Officers: PC Pete Butt-Gow, PC Yasser Zubair, PC Shaharyar Khan,  PC Sylvia Masih-Gill, PC Lucy Williams, PC Misbah Ali, and is currently led by Acting Sergeant Abhilasha Bajwa, with Sergeant Reyan AL-Owaied taking the helm from May 2022.

The team not only encourages individuals from our diverse communities to consider policing, but also helps to support and encourage applicants during the recruitment process; that support continues once student officers are in-force through signposting to mentoring and coaching.

TVP’s PAET is starting their 2022 activity with three informal community events, on Thursday 17 February 2022, taking place in Reading, Milton Keynes and Oxford: Register to attend the events

A/Sgt Bajwa and the team invites anyone curious about a policing career to come down for an informal conversation. Meet the team and understand their career journeys.  Learn what being a Police Officer involves in the Thames Valley.  Find out about the specialist career paths you can take once you have passed basic training.

A/Sgt Abhilasha Bajwa says: “Everyone has something valuable to bring to policing.  “Whether it be an in depth understanding about a particular culture or ethnicity, difference in age or gender, variety in experience before policing, maybe even a personal life experience which has shaped how you think – it is all valued in the world of policing.

“If you have strong, positive morals and values, and believe in doing the right thing, then policing may well be the perfect career for you.  Be the difference you want to see – come and meet the team.”

TVP’s PAET saw 2020-21 engagement plans hampered due to the restrictions of the pandemic, with much of their engagement activity taking place online.  As we come out of the pandemic, the team is looking forward to the increased opportunity for more direct community engagement and interaction, planning a wide range of community engagement and careers events in 2022.

Thames Valley has an ethnically diverse population of around 15% and prior to the team’s establishment, 5.1% of TVP’s serving officers identified as being from an ethnically diverse background. Progress has been made in the last few years with 6.2% representation now within our officer numbers.  Whilst this increase may seem modest, it represents the reality of an additional 51 officers from an ethnically diverse background. In the past 12 months, 15.9% of our new student officers have identified as being from an ethnically diverse background. 

Over the last 12 months, of the new TVP recruits 50.4% were women, with the population of women in the Thames Valley standing at 50.4%; our current number of women officers in force stands at 36%. Women represent 60.5% of our police staff and 52.7% of our PCSOs, giving an overall workforce of which 46.9% are women.

As a force, we are attracting a wider range of candidates than at any previous time; within our current pipeline of 1700 applicants for the police officer entry routes, 24% of candidates are from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 43% are women.

Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police John Campbell says: “We have had success attracting more women into policing but realise there is more work to do to increase ethnic diversity within the Force. Investment in our PAET can help us realise that ambition.

“Having people with a diverse range of skills and abilities is important to have but so is a knowledge of cultures and languages, which can help us get to the heart of community issues and solve problems effecting them.

“We are aware that barriers may exist to those from ethnic minorities from joining the police service, which is also reflected nationally and in other sectors of work. PAET helps understand those concerns and remove barriers to encourage those wanting a career in policing to apply.”

The team supported student officer Sanika Mehta, currently on the force’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) during her recruitment journey she says: “Although I have enjoyed my previous jobs, there wasn’t always a sense of job satisfaction. I therefore decided that I wanted something more challenging and fulfilling. My engagement with the PAET helped me re-build my confidence, learning from their advice and their experiences. It really made a difference having the team work with me and encourage me.”

To find out more about the Positive Action and Engagement Team (PAET) and the work that Thames Valley Police is doing to support access to aspiring people from all backgrounds interested in a career in policing, please visit us Valuing Difference page on our TVP Careers website.

TVP is currently accepting applications for our Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) and Police Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme (PC-DHEP) – to learn more and apply visit our Police Officer page.   

Eastern Eye

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