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How the police are leading the way for workplace equality

15th November 2019
 PC Kim (not her real name) is a hardworking and driven woman working in the British Police Force. Since leaving university and not being sure about what she wanted to do as a career path, she applied thinking it would be short term and still finds herself working there years later.
 
In a blog a little different than usual, PC Kim commends the police as being a forward-thinking employer when it comes to diversity. Despite this, she has still been challenged and her gender has affected her day-to-day life at work. Her blog is a story of how grit and determination have meant that she is in her dream role. What’s more, her dream job makes a real difference to society...
 

My role

I work in a covert policing role gaining intelligence (hence the anonymity). We work on jobs for months at a time and target high-level organised crime such as multi-kilo drug importers and dealers. It can be tedious and takes a lot of patience but it is worth it when someone you have worked on for months pleads guilty in court due to the evidence you have provided being so damning. It is a really rewarding job.
 
I’m lucky enough to work in an industry where females are treated the same as males. This wasn’t always the case and it has taken many years and a lot of work to get to this point. I think it’s really important that all females have equal chances to males. There is a group within my force which helps support and empower women but is also open to anyone regardless of gender. I am sure there are still isolated incidents where women have had negative experiences within the force but I have been lucky enough to never have had to consider me being female when making any of my career decisions.
 
I can see why quotas are in place but I think you risk people being given roles that they are not suited to or capable of doing well; just because they are the desired diversity. There needs to be a happy medium. Pick the most qualified, most suitable person but ensure that it starts with a diverse pool of applicants and the opportunities are made available to all. Thankfully the old fashioned “boys club” mentality that the police used to be known for is something I haven’t personally ever witnessed. There are a lot of specialist and high ranking females within the force these days.
 

Being a female in the police

People react differently to a female in uniform, it’s not acceptable but it happens and being able to take advantage of that is really rewarding. I’ve been able to talk aggressive people right down into a conversation over male colleagues whom they have seen only as someone to fight. Also being able to comfort someone who doesn’t want to be dealt with by a man can be so helpful. In contrast, sometimes people only respond to a male. There is also sometimes the element of surprise as some aggressors think a female can’t handle themselves physically or might be afraid to do so. When you’ve got someone like that under control and restrained; preventing vulnerable people from harm it is really satisfying.
It is so important to have a good mix of people in whatever industry you work in. It offers different viewpoints and the potential for better ideas and working practices. However I do think it is crucial that the right people are picked for a job regarding their skill set and ability to perform and this should be put before any diversity considerations. The most important thing is that people are open-minded and able to consider other viewpoints.
 

On hard work

I got to where I am today through hard work and determination, I keep my head down and do the best job I can. I strive to develop. I don’t think you need to butter people up to get a good reputation, just get on, work hard, be polite and speak to everyone. I find offering a cup of tea is a brilliant way to get to know people. Ask for help when you need it and most importantly of all, admit mistakes and learn from them when you make them, because we all make them.
 
I have completed some really tough courses in my time in the police. One of the most fun and most rewarding was my advanced driving course. It enabled me to get a role which I loved and which was really interesting. The course was a huge challenge which was both terrifying and exhilarating.
I don’t think I have ever obtained a job role I have applied for on the first attempt. I always take the knockback personally and get cross at myself. Then I dust myself off and work even harder to be better and get to where I want to be. I have always achieved my goal in the end and I really believe that I am a better person for it. Although it certainly doesn’t feel like it when you fail!
 
I am really proud of being a strong, independent and driven person. I try to assist and mentor people wherever I can because I have always looked to experienced people to assist me in my life. I want people to look at me and see someone who works hard to achieve their goals.
 
If you enjoyed this blog check out Tracey O'Hara who is is currently a detective with Merseyside Police.
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