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Tell us a bit about yourself
I hold full rank of a Special Sergeant but currently I act as an Inspector.
My biggest achievement outside of work is arriving in this country without any language or life skills and being able to open a successful business and provide a better life to my family back in Poland.
My biggest achievement inside work was receiving a Commendation award from our Chief Constable, along with the recognition for commitment and support I have provided over the past 11 years.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Apart from helping people and feeling of extreme satisfaction, I enjoy the feeling of purpose, I enjoy being part of a team who is always there for me and I accept me for who I am not where I’m from. I enjoy the adrenaline rush, decision making process and feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Diversity is not just important but it is necessary to have healthy balance between people. We are all different but we all have the same values and we all want the same from life, being happy, healthy, feeling loved or feeling safe.
We all bring different skillsets, mindsets, and knowledge. Without diversity we won’t be able to understand others and to achieve balance in the world.
We need officers from different backgrounds so they can teach us about who they are and what we can do so they and any members of the public can feel safe and accepted.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
For me, it was difficult due to having a language barrier. I never learned English in school and I was concerned my communication skills wouldn’t be good enough. I was concerned I wouldn’t be accepted or treated as equally as other British people. I was also concerned my community wouldn’t accept me as a police officer. I lost so many people who I called “friends”, but I gained so many more true friends who accept me and are still by my side today.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I have always been supported by the Command Team and local officers. We all became friends and family who I can call and talk to.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
Everything is interesting as every day is different and you never know what will happen. There is one interesting thing that I did not expect to gain from my role. I always thought that I was very much a single player and, as much as I could be part of the team, I was always looking after myself. As a Sergeant, I discovered that the success of every member of my team is also my success, I discovered that I enjoy and feel proud when I see my officers achieving great performance, joining the force as a police officer and supporting other people in need. I think it’s very interesting that I also grew skills I didn’t think I had in me.
What advice would you give to anyone identifying as BAME thinking about joining Essex Police?
If you want to join Essex Police then do it…I didn’t believe in myself, but Essex Police did. Joining is the best decision I have ever made. This role gives me extreme satisfaction. Not just from helping others but this role has also helped me. I feel valued and gain respect from other people as a result of my hard work and commitment. When people look at me, they don’t just see me as a Polish person any more…I am Justyna and I am part of the Essex Police family.