AS LONG as he can remember, Yasser wanted to be a police officer.
Now, after 18 years of service, he tells us about his experiences, why he would encourage other people from South Asian communities to consider a career with the police. And why he believes that policing today stands for equal opportunities, as well as the opportunity to keep communities safe.
Yasser, who is from a Pakistani background says, “No two days are ever the same. We are working to reduce crime and within this, we are dealing with people from all walks of life, we’re engaging our brains to understand motives and sheltering the vulnerable from danger. A career with the police is rewarding. It’s a job where you feel like you are making a difference to the community and helping to keep people safe. That’s what keeps me going, and it’s this that is very rewarding.”
Yasser works in the Positive Action Engagement Team with Thames Valley Police, which is dedicated to the retention, progression and recruitment of people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Before this, he worked with the Greater Manchester Police in various roles, including being part of the first team that dealt with terrorist offenders.
Reflecting on views of policing within the south Asian community, Yasser says: “We still have some way to go to change some of the negative perceptions. Many people cite racism and discrimination as concerns and others worry about a perceived lack of career progression. What I would say to these people is don’t always believe what you hear.”
Talking about how his race affects his role, Yasser says, “I see my race as a positive aspect which enhances my personal impact. The fact that I can speak Urdu and Punjabi, for example, is an asset which helps me to build rapport and trust.”
Yasser continues, “I’ve helped educate my colleagues about my culture and religion and learnt about theirs. Actively being part of a diverse workforce is the only way to break down barriers which exist in society. That’s the same in any workplace, including the police.”
While his family are very supportive of his role now, this wasn’t always the case. Yasser says, “It can be difficult if your family and friends are not supportive about your chosen career path, but what I’ve found is that as your family learn about the important role you play in society and the difference you make, it’s very likely their opinions will change.”
On career progression, Yasser says, “There are so many challenging and interesting roles within the police – you could work your full career and still not have worked in every function.
“As long as you have the drive, the organisation will support your needs and help you fulfil your ambition.”
Giving advice to those who are interested in joining the police, Yasser says, “Go for it, don’t let anything hold you back.”
There are various ways to join the police, depending on your work, life and educational experience.
Visit https://www.joiningthepolice. co.uk/ for more information.