I am currently a Head Cadet for Harlow Police Cadets. I am 17 years old. 5”11ins in height.
One of my biggest achievements in my time as a Cadet was attending the Essex Police Awards back in 2018, as I was shortlisted for Cadet of the Year along with five other cadets from all over the county. Outside of my role within Essex Police, I was elected as Head Boy at Passmores Academy back in 2018. This was a big achievement for someone with a disability like me, as it showed that the community that I was a part of was inclusive and understanding towards disabilities.
From leaving secondary school back in summer 2019 I gained a job with Argos, this is a part-time job that I work alongside my Public Services course at Harlow College. Working at Argos was a large challenge as it involved a new environment. This took a while to get used to, but I enjoy going to work.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy seeing the difference that we make in both the wider community and within our own unit. The activities and experiences are second to none, being a Cadet with a summer camp with all other units and many duties around community events which gives us the opportunity to build confidence in speaking to the public. I enjoy trying to make a difference in the community.
I also enjoy the social side of being a Cadet as this has allowed many of us, certainly in the Harlow Unit, to make friends that we speak to everyday and enjoy spending time with. This helps us to build our team-work skills too.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Without diversity and inclusion in the workplace it would not be a welcoming environment for all of the community. This would mean that people may not apply or obtain the jobs that they will be happy doing. Difference should be valued as this makes each and every person unique. Each unique person can bring different skills and values to the task at hand.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
When joining Essex Police back in 2016, I started with 21 other individual and unique Cadets. Having a neuro-diverse condition, this broke down the potential barriers as it made me see that its good to be yourself and everyone has different skills in the team.
On the particular intake that I started on, there were other people who had similar physical characteristics which meant that I was comfortable at all times. We also had many other people from different backgrounds which meant that there was a learning opportunity in which lead me to go on and choose Public Services at college from hearing how they were doing it.
Having a different personality when joining was not an issue looking back as I had leaders who had a good understanding of different people and used this to create teams for different things. This helped us to build our communication skills.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
I think it’s incredibly important that our force values difference as this allows us to understand and accommodate different people. Its important that we have staff and officers of different heights and genders, thought patterns, ages and personalities as some members of the public may feel more understood when expressing issues or concerns. By valuing difference, it allows us to also understand our colleagues and promote equality in the force.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
Essex Police have provided many sessions about routes to become an officer which means that I am able to work towards the entry requirements. My Cadet leaders have always had a good understanding of my personality and have always answered any questions that I have asked to put my mind at rest.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
In my role I get to deliver lessons and drill sessions to new cadets and more experienced cadets about different parts of the police service, this is positive as it builds my confidence in talking to different people and I use my eye for attention to detail to create the best outcome for drill. I enjoy this part of the role most as it gives me the opportunity to use my neuro-diverse condition positively.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
Essex Police are a very welcoming and inclusive force which means that there will always be people to speak to about any concerns that you may be having about joining. Since joining, I have always felt included and I use my previous experiences to help create the new experiences for new recruits. As you go on in the force to meet new people, you’ll see that there are a variety of people who have different attributes such as height and age. These shouldn’t stop you from reaching your potential.