As long as he can remember, Yasser wanted to be a police officer. He started his career with the Greater Manchester Police, working in various roles, including being part of the first team dealing with terrorist offenders. 18 years on, he now works in the Positive Action Engagement Team with Thames Valley Police, which is dedicated to retention, progression and recruitment of people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
From a Pakistani background, he tells us what he enjoys about policing, gives us his view of how his race affects his role and explains why he would encourage other people from ethnic minority communities to consider joining the police.
Q. What do you love about being a police officer?
Yasser: No two days are ever the same. We’re working to reduce crime and within this, we’re dealing with people from all walks of life, we’re engaging our brains to understand motives and sheltering the vulnerable from danger. It’s a job where you feel like you’re making a difference to the community and helping to keep people safe. That’s what keeps me going – it’s very rewarding.
Q. You’ve had a few different roles in the police – do you think there are good opportunities for career progression?
Yasser: 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.
Q. Do you feel your race matters in your role?
Yasser: 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.
Q. Do you think it's important to have family support if you're thinking about joining the police?
Yasser: It can be difficult if your family and friends aren’t 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.
Q. How do you think your wider community view policing?
Yasser: 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. 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.
Q. What advice would you give to someone interested in joining the police?
Yasser: Go for it, don’t let anything hold you back.