Police Constable Yasmin Hylton

I love the variety of the job. One day I can be chasing suspects on the street. The next I can be helping in the community.

Yasmin talking to camera, locker room in the background.

PC Yasmin Hylton is a new recruit with Lancashire Police. She talks to us about what motivated her to join the police, how she feels she’s made a difference and what the future holds for her policing career.

View the full video transcript

 What made you want to join the police?
I wanted to make a difference fundamentally, and I think joining the police, you are given that opportunity to go to people when they're at their most vulnerable or when they need help. And I wanted to do that and I wanted to get out in the community and yeah, just make the community a better environment. And I've always loved people, so being able to speak to people in my day job was a bonus. And that's the main reason why I joined the police.

What’s your background (e.g. previous job(s) before joining)?
My background was very different, actually, I studied math’s and statistics university, and so I dabbled in data for a bit. So, it’s kind of had a few data jobs, but I got bored of just being office based and I wanted something that I was more passionate about. So that was my background.

What entry route did you apply through?
I applied through police now, which is probably one of the lesser known entry routes into the police. It's a graduate scheme and you go straight into neighbourhood after you've done your training. So, neighbourhood policing, slightly different response, we’re more problem solving and getting to know the community and going out on foot patrol and stuff like that. So that's the entry I joined.

How did you find the application process – was it what you expected? 
It was long, but it was straightforward at the same time, and I think part of the length of it is that it's quite a long interim period in between each section. And I think that's because the type of job you're going into, they need to make sure that you are the right fit. So, it was a long process, but I found that the entry I went through, they were quite supportive and always telling me when the next thing was coming up that had to do and stuff like that. So, it's long, but it's it makes it worth it. It's good.

Did you have any concerns around passing the fitness test? 
I had heard scare stories about the fitness test before I joined, so initially I was pretty nervous. I thought you were supposed to do like 1000 push ups, but actually nowadays it's not too bad at all. There is a bleep test and obviously you have a medical before then. So, when I found out the reality of it, it did put my mind at ease a bit more.

Was it easier or harder than you expected? 
I think it was easier, I think the bleep test, I remember doing it at school. And it's you don't have to get up to a high level necessarily think it's 5.3, which is actually not that long. So, it's more of a mind game. I think if you have your mind set in the right place, then it's OK. You can make your body run. That's why I thought it was not too bad in the end.

Did you do any training or preparation for it? 
I probably tried to go out on a few runs where could, probably should have done some more, but yeah, I try and go out on a few jogs before because we have to do the fitness tests every year. But I know some people actually set up the test in their garden or in a park, and you can download it on your app and they actually do the test as well. So, lots of people do train for it that way.

What advice would you give other people to help them pass it?
 I would say don't worry about it, as I said, it is a mind game, and you don't have to be that fit. Obviously, you need a level of fitness to pass and you need a level of fitness to join the police. But it's not impossible. It's not unreasonable. And as I say, I would just go on a few jogs, and that's fine.

What would you say are the main barriers that stop [women – if it’s a female recruit] [people from your community – if it’s a recruit from another minority background] from applying? 
It's big question. I think there's a lot of representation of the place that it can seem quite a ladish environment. It can seem quite male dominated. That is changing. And I believe that the processes, even the application process, people are wanting more women to join the police because we need to police our communities with a variety of different people, and that includes everything from gender and race and all sorts of diversity. So, I think it is a perception of the police that people have that this is why I like to do these things because I like to try and challenge that perception and say, actually, I've had a fantastic time in the police, even though it's been quite a short period, I've loved every moment. And I know that that might not have been the case 20 plus years ago, but it's a great thing that these things are changing. And I think that the perception of the police is still there a little bit in the media. But actually, I've had a great time.

How have you found your training overall? What parts have you enjoyed most? 
It's good, it's different, obviously, you don't expect to be trained in, say, self-defence stuff like that when you start your career, but that's obviously an important part of the police. It's quite extensive. Is that the word I’m looking for? Intense. It’s quite intense, but you learn a lot in a short period of time and I love learning. I love kind of getting to do new things and learn new things. I really enjoyed it. And I think my favourite course was definitely the blue lights course? So, you get to drive the cars really fast. It's fun. 

What do you enjoy most about your job now? 
I love the variety of the job. I love the fact that one day I can be chasing bad guys on the street. The next day I can just be helping in the community. I can go into schools and educate children. And there are so many different things you can do and kind of make it your own what your strengths are and what you enjoy doing. You can really mold that into the career and the kind of job that you want it to be. So I love the variety of it.

How do you feel you’re making a difference?  
I think it's important in a job like the police to take note of the small differences because I think some of us come in and wanting to change the world, and that is often harder than we first kind of thought it would be. But I love making the small differences. I love just giving people, even just stopping and talking to people on the street. They're really like talking to police officers, some people, and also just giving victims the care and support of going that extra mile. So, I think it's in the small things that make a difference.

What do your friends and family think about your career choice? 
So initially, my dad was a bit apprehensive about me joining the police, I think he was concerned about the safety of it, which is understandable, and I have two younger sisters and they weren't particularly happy about it. I don't think they had the best view of the police However, honestly, me joining it has changed their perception, and I think they understand why people like me need to join. So even if they had a slight negative perception of the police, they understand that more people are joining that they think have more of a positive impact. So, there was a little bit of apprehension, but I think they're really proud of me now, which is good.

How do you see your career in policing progressing? 
Like I said before, the police have not only in the day job, there's a lot of variety, but also, where you can go next. There are so many different things. You can specialise in loads and loads of different areas, and I'm probably at the stage where I'm still working out what I want to do, but I love being in that position. I love having all these opportunities and seeing what's next.

What advice would you give to others thinking about joining the police? 
I would say, honestly, go for it. I remember when I joined the police, I was meeting a friend for a coffee and I talked about, oh, it’s an interesting career. I've always seen it as something I would have liked to have done, but because I studied maths, I thought, I can't do that. I need to go and work with numbers. But she just told me she was like, Go and apply and see what happens and I did, and I never looked back. So I would say if there's anyone thinking about it or have an interest in it, go and apply because for me, I've loved every moment of it.

Tell us a bit about your background
My background was very different, actually. I studied maths and statistics at university, and so I dabbled with a few data jobs for a bit. But I got bored of just being office based. I wanted something that I was more passionate about. 

What entry route did you apply through?
I applied through a graduate scheme and you go straight into a neighbourhood after you've completed your training. In neighbourhood policing, we’re more about problem solving and getting to know the community – going out on foot patrol and stuff like that. 

How did you find the application process – was it what you expected? 
It was straightforward, although there's quite a long interim period in between each section, because in this type of job, they need to make sure that you’re the right fit. But I was supported throughout the process and was always kept up to date on when the next thing was coming. So, it can feel long but it's worth it. 

The fitness test – was it easier or harder than you expected? 
I think it was easier. It's more of a mind game. I think if you have your mind set in the right place, then it's OK. You can make your body run. That's why I thought it wasn’t too bad in the end.

Did you do any training or preparation for it? 
I tried to go out on a few runs when I could – I probably should have done some more. We have to do the fitness tests every year, so I try to go out on a few jogs beforehand. But I know some people actually set up the test in their garden or in a park. And, you can download the bleep test as an app on your phone, so lots of people do train for it that way.

How have you found your training overall? What parts have you enjoyed most? 
You don't expect to be trained in, say, self-defence when you start your career, but that's obviously an important part of the police. It's quite extensive and you learn a lot in a short period of time. I love learning and really enjoyed getting to do new things. One of my favourites was definitely the blue lights course, It's really fun! 

What do you enjoy most about your job now? 
I love the variety of the job. I love the fact that one day I can be chasing suspects on the street. The next day I can just be helping in the community. I can go into schools and educate children. And there are so many different things you can do and make it your own with what your strengths are and what you enjoy doing. You can really mould it into the career and the kind of job that you want it to be. 

How do you feel you’re making a difference?  
I think it's important in a job like the police to take note of the small differences, because I think some of us come in and want to change the world, and that is often harder than we first think. But I love making the small differences. I love helping people, even just stopping and talking to people on the street. Or giving victims the care and support they need and going that extra mile. I think it's the small things that make a real difference.

What do your friends and family think about your career choice? 
Initially, my dad was a bit apprehensive about me joining the police. I think he was concerned about my safety, which is understandable. And my two younger sisters weren't particularly happy about it. I don't think they had the best view of the police. However, honestly, me joining has changed their perception, and I think they understand why people like me need to join. They understand that more people are joining that they think have more of a positive impact. So, there was a little bit of apprehension, but I think they're really proud of me now.

How do you see your career in policing progressing? 
Policing isn’t an ordinary day job, there's a lot of variety, including where you can go next. There are so many different roles. You can specialise in loads and loads of different areas. 

I'm probably at the stage where I'm still working out what I want to do, but I love being in that position. I love having all these opportunities and seeing what's next.

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

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