Eva Barwis, Detective Sergeant with Sussex Police, talks to us about her passion for policing and why she encourages other people from the black community to consider a career within the police.
When did you decide to join the police?
Before I joined the police I worked in IT. I was already thinking about doing something more rewarding and then I noticed the police were holding an open evening for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. I went along to the event and my mind was blown. I knew then that joining the police was absolutely what I wanted to do.
What do you enjoy most about being in the police?
For me, joining the police has been truly life changing. It’s helped me discover that there’s a lot more to me than I ever imagined. I enjoy the diversity within my role, every single day is different. That, and the fact that I know I’m making a real difference to people’s lives, keeps my drive and motivation high.
How do you feel you’re making a difference?
The most important part of my role is dealing with those who are vulnerable. We tend to come into contact with people at some of the worst times in their lives and, for me, it’s being that support. I’m very passionate about being the person they can rely on in that most challenging moment.
What’s it like being a black woman in the police?
First and foremost, I see myself as a member of the police service, part of a family which shares the same mission – keeping people and communities safe. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced any negativity related to race in my time in the police
How is discrimination dealt with in the police?
The police service is very good at dealing with any untoward behaviour. There’s no place for racism or sexism. It is simply not tolerated. In my experience, people from different cultures and backgrounds are welcomed and supported.
Why is diversity in the police force so important?
Here at Sussex Police we have a dedicated diversity team ensuring that our police force reflects the community it serves. I’ve seen first-hand that when police officers understand different cultures, histories and traditions, they have a better chance of breaking down barriers, building trust and protecting the local community.
What opportunities are there for career progression in the police?
There is so much room for progression and so many varied and interesting roles. We also have Positive Action Learning (PAL) courses which train up people from ethnically diverse backgrounds for leadership positions. If you have the ambition and will, there is nothing you cannot achieve.
What do your friends and family think of your career choice?
My family and friends can clearly see the passion I have for my job and they are nothing but proud and supportive of what I have chosen to do.
What would you say to encourage other people from the black community to join the police?
If you’re on the hunt for an exciting, challenging and rewarding career, where you can make a difference every single day, and you want a police force that’s reflective of our communities, then come and join us. It’s one of the best things you could do with your life, you will never regret it.
Want to hear from more officers on what they love about policing? Explore their stories.