A local police officer from Leeds is preparing to swap the streets of Harehills for the red carpet of Buckingham Palace later this year, after being named on the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Prevent Engagement Officer, Asad Razzaq – known as Ash – was awarded an MBE for his services to young people and the community.
The award acknowledges the work he has done in his own time as voluntary leader of CATCH (Community Action to Change Harehills).
Having begun his career in the force eight years ago, the 30-year-old helped co-establish CATCH in 2009.
CATCH is a charity based in Harehills which was part of the massively successful ‘Hovingham Project’.
The project aimed to develop a large area of ugly wasteland into a beauty spot for the local community to enjoy. Thanks to PC Razzaq’s resourcefulness and vision, the sports field is now used for cricket, football and other activities – instead of a dumping ground for used syringes.
The sports field has become a symbol of hope for hundreds of young people and local residents, and is the meeting spot for ground-breaking community projects and initiatives.
Speaking of his award, PC Razzaq said: “I’m sincerely thankful and humbled to be recognised with such an honour.
“I was taken aback when I received the letter and had to keep it secret for two weeks before the New Year’s Honours List was actually revealed.”
PC Razzaq is ‘overwhelmed’ and hopes to continue the work that he loves for many years to come. He said: “I would also like to thank all the people who have supported and been involved with CATCH.”
As a Prevent engagement officer, working in Harehills, Ash concentrates on building cohesion between different community groups through a range of innovative projects.
PC Razzaq has been instrumental in community development and partnership work, which has included working with Hovingham Primary School and Leeds City Council in setting up a self-sustainable community hub in January 2013.
The charity has knitted together young people from across a range of communities and backgrounds in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour, crime and community cohesion and create a brighter future for young people.
West Yorkshire Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “PC Razzaq’s work within the community of Harehills cannot be understated and represents community cohesion at its best.
“He has worked exceptionally hard for a number of years to build resilience and forge new relationships within the diverse community of Harehills.
“The significant role he has played in bringing together people from different minority groups has been undertaken in his personal time while also serving as a full-time police officer.”
In total 1,196 people were named on the annual New Year’s Honours List for 2016, with 5.7 per cent coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Other local recipients included Dr Nisreen Hanna Booya, from Huddersfield, for services to Healthcare, particularly Mental Health, and Satpal Singh Nahl, from Leeds, for services to Taxpayers and Public Administration.