PC Anokhi Chouhan
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a police officer in the Community Policing Team (CPT) at Loughton in the Epping Forest District. I joined a year ago through the Police Now scheme after obtaining a master’s degree in maths. In my time off, I enjoy completing large jigsaw puzzles – I hope to one day have enough floor space to complete a 40000-piece one!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy the variation. Sometimes it’s incredibly fast-paced and you’re responding to critical incidents, at other times it’s all about long-term planning, such as sitting down with members of public and community partners to discuss how best to tackle an ongoing issue.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Diversity and inclusion are so important because they help Essex Police to better represent the people we serve. Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing, said: “the public are the police and the police are the public”, and so the diversity of the police must reflect the diversity of our communities. We need to value each other’s differences and see them as what they are – strengths that can make Essex Police even better.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
None of my friends or family are in the police, and it was never a career that crossed my mind before I applied so when I joined, everyone I knew was completely gobsmacked. Policing isn’t considered to be a good career for people in my community, and police officers weren’t always viewed in a positive light. A lot of people told me I was making a mistake, but I stuck with it and now everyone is incredibly supportive.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I’ve had a lot of support from my PDO, Laura Kirby, who has been working so hard to ensure I get through my probation without unnecessary struggle. Shenaz Allybokus, the Diversity and Inclusion coordinator, made herself known to me very early on as someone to talk to if there are any issues. I’m lucky to have recently been appointed as Secretary for the Women’s Leadership and Development Forum (WLDF), who support all women in the force. The best support I’ve had, however, is from my sergeant who has made me feel so welcome and gone out of his way to congratulate me on my achievements, big and small, and identify ways I could improve even further.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
What’s interesting about a CPT role is that it’s very flexible. If you see a something that could be improved, you have the freedom to develop and see through a plan to tackle it. For example, I noticed that we had little to no contact with members of our religious communities, so worked with a local Reverend to identify and contact religious leaders from all faiths in our districts and come up with ways we could better engage with those communities.
What advice would you give to anyone identifying as BAME thinking about joining Essex Police?
I would always recommend joining Essex Police, no matter your background. There is no other job that has so many specialisations open to you and potential career routes you could follow. Some of the concerns that I had raised by my family and friends was that I might be treated differently in the police, but this is not something I’ve ever experienced. So long as you have the right values, you will be more than welcome here.