‘The police are the public, the public are the police’
In 1829, upon establishing the Modern Police Force, Sir Robert Peel declared: ‘The police are the public, the public are the police’.
Almost 200 years later and those sentiments are perhaps truer today than they were in the 19th century, with an ever more diverse force representing Britain’s various communities.
In West Yorkshire, Amjad Ditta is the Positive Action Coordinator for the county’s Police service.
His role involves recruiting and retaining all the under-represented groups in the police to ensure every community has a voice.
Amjad said: “As you know, West Yorkshire is a diverse area built up from different cultures and different communities.”
“What we are trying to do today is serve the community in the best way possible, and the only way of doing this is by having these different communities represented within the force.
“It’s my role to go out there speak to these people, break down the barriers and eliminate the problems they might have when it comes to joining the police.”
The son of a taxi driver, Amjad is the only member of his family to work in the police but says it is something that has always captured his interest.
Having joined at the age of 19 as a Community Support Officer, the now 31-year-old has a built up a wealth of experience in the ‘industry’, firstly as a Police Constable and most recently a Fire Arms Officer.
Over the last six years, his role has seen him working across the county, handling a wide range of issues including domestic incidents to criminal damage and public brawls.
In 2012, he was even part of the London policing team that looked after Olympic athletes – working alongside the Australia’s men’s Gold Medal rowing team.
This past week he began his latest role as the Positive Action Coordinator and is ready to begin the new challenge.
“When this role became available, I knew I needed to do it,” he said. “I have spoken to many people from different communities in my time as an officer and listened to the barriers they feel are in place which stop them from joining the force.
“I have all these ideas on how to tackle the problems and now I’m in a position to put them into action. I’m here to help people.”
He added: “If you want something in life, you of course have to be willing put the work in. My job is to support applicants up to the point of submitting their applications but they have to be willing to work for it too.
“Everyone will have different obstacles to overcome but I’m here to help them overcome them.”
Amjad’s role will involve him going to a variety of destinations, including schools, churches, mosques and career events, to promote the police service as a career.
Describing himself as a ‘single point of contact’ for aspiring police officers and staff, Amjad wants to hear from people of all backgrounds, all religions and all communities.
“West Yorkshire Police will always be committed to bringing the best people into the service,” he said.
“However, the only way of doing this is by representing the community of which we serve. This isn’t the 1960’s or 70’s where the typical profile of the police was just white British.
“Today we have a number of ethnic minority communities in the region and people from EU countries. Only by recruiting different community representatives will we be able to learn.
“We do not have all the answers. We need to know if you go into a house, do you need to take your shoes off? We need to establish what cultural differences exist.
“That’s why we require a diverse workforce and that’s why this job is open to people of all backgrounds. It is the best job I’ve ever done and the best you will do, too, if you sign up.”
If you would like more information about joining the police, contact Amjad Ditta via email on firstname.lastname@example.org