PC Humza Bokhari
Tell us a bit about yourself
My role within Essex Police is being part of the Town Centre Team in Basildon. This involves regular foot patrols, engaging with shop owners and working together with the council. As well as public engagement, there is always potential to do lots of covert work. This allows us to cover areas within our patch and help disturb individuals from selling drugs, prevent crime from occurring and gain intel in relation to ongoing investigations. We also obtain warrants and disturb the drug line from those that are bringing it on to the street, which allows us to make a difference for the wider community.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
As a new joiner, I enjoy the Town Centre Team and the area that I work in. As Basildon is a new area for me personally, having a small patch makes it easier in order to gain local knowledge, including certain hotspot areas and how crime affects us within Basildon. This allows me to feel more confident every day as I know the place like the back of my hand. I do enjoy covert roles highly, as not looking like a police officer plays to my advantage. Suspects only realise once I present my warrant card. This approach helps me gather all the evidence I need before stopping them for a search.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Personally, I think both play hand to hand. Diversity refers to characteristics that make people unique, whereas inclusion is the action of being included within a group. I believe that having more diversity within a group and including them allows the group to be more aware of cultural differences within individuals. This aids both in and outside of the workplace and allows the workforce to provide a better service as they understand the audience better.
Regarding our new We Value Difference campaign, I feel this is the correct attitude as it allows people to understand that differences are welcomed within policing. These differences can range from; officers from a BAME background, LGBTQ+, women in different specialism roles, different ages, cultural backgrounds and height differences.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
When I thought of joining Essex Police, at first my family were more worried about my personal safety than anything. From my mother’s perspective, all her life she has watched over me in order to safeguard me from danger, yet I choose a career which keeps danger near me 24/7. Another family member, who has no connection within policing, explained that, as a brown male, I would be isolated and there would be officers who would not interact with me due to my colour. I ignored this based on the fact that these are common myths and, unless he could back this with personal evidence or officers who have been victims to this, I felt this could not happen. I applied, and I can confirm these were all myths and I have been welcomed with open arms by everyone. My only regret is that I should have applied sooner!
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
My tutorship was a good opportunity, as it allowed me to see how officers conduct their day to day and gave me the confidence to be who I am today.
I do have regular chats with my sergeants, and I feel these are always good. I am given constant feedback for anything good and anything I can improve on. This allows me to become better and better every day, as every day is a learning day within policing.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
Before I joined the police, I shared the view that policing would be driving at high speeds and all the action you often see on TV! However, this is not true, policing is probably one of the most challenging jobs you can do. Every day is different, with no two days the same. You may receive a call and must deal with something regarding a sudden death and must deliver a death message which is one of the hardest jobs we have, or you may have to arrest someone who is trying to make off. The job significantly changes every minute which means the approach we have changes significantly as well.
What advice would you give to anyone identifying as BAME thinking about joining Essex Police?
Never judge a book by its cover, which is true for policing. A lot of people have the mindset that recruitment is fixed or only a certain percentage of BAME is taken. I do not believe this is true, if you share the same views as we share and want to help make a difference then apply today!
For those that apply I can promise one fact: you will meet some amazing officers and hear amazing stories and before you know it, you’ll have your own stories to tell.