GRAYS played host to an initiative by Essex Police aimed at sharing opportunites for careers with the service.
Six colourful buses will travelling around the county with the current Essex Police ‘We Value Difference campaign’ splashed all over them.
A statement from the force says: “We want our WeValueDifference campaign to ‘drive home’ the hundreds of opportunities available to applicants at Essex Police – from taking 101 calls in the Resolution Centre, patrolling the streets as a Community Support Officer (PCSO) or even volunteering in your spare time as a Special Constable.
“With more than 300 roles to choose from, we’re looking to expand our Essex Police family and you could be exactly what we’re looking for.
“Some of our force gathered in Grays to witness the buses on their first outing and shared their experiences of working for Essex Police.”
Police Constable Nahid Jaber, part of the Community Policing Team at Grays, says of his role: “I love that every day is different. I really enjoy getting out and about, talking to people and making them feel safe. It’s a great place to work.
“When I go out and about in the community and deal with people who have a similar background to me, I know they feel comfortable talking to me. I can relate to the things they say, so they feel heard.”
Sharon Micallef works in the Resolution Centre taking 101 calls and proves you don’t need to be a bobby on the beat to be a part of the action:
She says: “”I answer calls, conduct searches and ultimately work towards solving low-level crimes like theft, criminal damage, burglary and racial hate…it’s a challenging job because I have to retain a lot of information, but it is incredibly rewarding.
“As someone who is mixed race, diversity is really close to my heart. Before I joined Essex Police, I worked at the Metropolitan Police as a trainer in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for many years. I have been working for 44 years and although I think we’ve still got a way to go, it has been amazing to see the change in attitudes and opinions over time.
“We have such a wide range of people with different backgrounds, beliefs and characteristics working here, so if you’re worried you wouldn’t be the right fit, don’t!”
Special Constable Rob Freeman joined the police in his fifties and had reservations to begin with, he says: “I initially considered that I wouldn’t be able to keep up at this stage in my life – how wrong I was! You’re a welcomed part of the team no matter your age. It can be full on at times but I always come away feeling fulfilled that I’ve contributed my time and experience as a Police Officer”
Rob spends his free time volunteering as a Police Officer. This means he has the same police powers, uniforms and equipment as regular Police Officers but sacrifice their free time on a voluntary basis, organising their busy personal lives, day jobs and other commitments around police duties.
“I like the different opportunities you get as a Special and being able to move around different departments. My advice for joining would be to just do it, don’t even hesitate! If you feel you have something to give, step up and give it a go. If you want to be a part of a massive policing family then Essex Police is the place for you.”
Police Community Support Officer Josephine Ribet wishes she joined the police sooner, saying: “I have always wanted to work for the police, but it took me a long time to act on it. I had a job in insurance for eight years, then Covid happened and it made me realise how much I needed a change – I really wanted to do something more active! Now I enjoy walking through the high streets, visiting schools and making people feel safer.
“Life as a PCSO is really rewarding. We gather a lot of intel from our time walking the streets, because people feel more comfortable opening up to us. We can pass this on to officers, who can act on it.
“Going into work never feels like a chore because we’re one big family. We all have each other’s backs and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of”
Superintendent Naomi Edwards is the Hate Crime Lead at Essex Police and is no stranger to the importance of promoting diversity, saying: “Our officers, staff and volunteers have different life experiences, different skills and represent communities from across our county which is integral in serving and protecting the people of Essex. In order to bridge the gap and reduce hate crime across the board, it is vital that Essex Police continues to be a reflection of the county it serves.
“At Essex Police, there’s plenty of opportunities to progress and promote to senior levels. It’s really important for me as a senior leader that I inspire my team and my local community as well as other women to join policing”