Police Constable Sanjeev Bhatoe

Policing has a come a long way, but we still need more people from under-represented communities to help drive positive change. 

Sanjeev Bhatoe

Sanjeev Bhatoe, Police Constable and Positive Action Co-Ordinator with the West Midlands Police, talks about his career in policing, what he loves about his role and why diversity is so important in the force. 

What made you choose a career in policing? 
I grew up in a small town called Grimsby and didn’t have any role models or inspiration, so I left school without any qualifications. I didn’t really know what to do but I’d always been intrigued by the police. I had a few businesses but after a few years, I sold them and decided to pursue a career in policing. I started out as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) with British Transport Police, then joined West Midlands Police in 2017.

What concerns did you have about becoming a police officer? 
I was initially concerned about being Asian and wondered what it would be like as a minority officer. I was worried how I might fit in and if I would face challenges.

What did your family and friends think? 
Initially, my family were concerned about the danger aspect of the job. But they know the kind of person I am, so after some thought, they said ‘Actually, this would be the perfect job for you, Sanj. With your skills and abilities, you’d make a great officer.’ They know I can talk for England too – which helps! I’m married with three boys. The kids love that their dad is a police officer and are really proud of me.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love the fact that I get to meet people from all walks of life and that I’m in a position to help people in need. Sometimes, these people are at the worst point in their lives, and I can go home knowing I’ve made a difference to somebody’s life, whether that’s by intervening in a situation or just some words of encouragement.

Any career highlights where you felt you’d made a real difference? 
One of my career highlights was receiving the Chief Constables Award and an award from the Royal Humane Society for trying to save a man’s life by doing CPR for 40 minutes. Another key moment was being asked to star in one of the On the Beat’ videos for the Home Office – my whole family was so proud!

Why don’t people from your cultural background typically join the police? 
Being a police officer is not seen as a career in the same light as the other professions such as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, dentist – these are the jobs most Asian parents want their children to choose. But I think times are changing and being a police officer is becoming more recognised as a respectable and professional career.

What benefits do you think your background brings to your role? 
Being from my background and bilingual (Punjabi) has really helped me in the role as I can interact with people whose first language may not be English.

Why do you feel more diversity in the police service is important?  
Diversity within policing is very important. The service needs the skills and abilities of people from all different backgrounds to really make a difference. We need to reflect the communities we serve and celebrate diversity of thought too.

How do you see your career in policing progressing? 
I’m hoping to climb the ranks in the near future and become a high ranking officer so that I can lead change within the service.

What would you say to encourage others from ethnic communities to join the police? 
I’ve spoken to a lot of people from ethnic minority groups and they’re hesitant to join the police, whether that’s because of misconceptions or negative press. But policing has a come a long way. We still need more people from under-represented communities to help drive positive change so I would say it’s a great job with great career prospects – it’s like no other job, so go for it.

Explore other serving officers’ stories on why they joined the force and what policing means to them. 

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