The annual Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) awards returned to London this past weekend, where emergency services were commended for their efforts over the past 12 months.
Established to raise the profile of Asian staff in the fire and rescue service, the organisation now works alongside 29 stations across the UK as well as three non-FRS organisations.
The awards night commended people in eight different categories, from man and woman of the year, to awards for equality and leadership, with people from across the UK receiving awards.
Locally, Kirklees’ prevention officer and AFSA vice-chair, Mohammed Ali, was presented with the ‘Outstanding Endeavour’ award.
Speaking about the accolade, he said: “When I was told that I had won the award I was overwhelmed to be honest.
“As the vice-chair of the organisation, it came as a big surprise to me that I had even been considered. It was proud moment when I accepted the trophy on stage.”
The award is presented annually to an AFSA member who has gone ‘above and beyond’ their call of duty.
As well as promoting AFSA across the country, Mohammed’s work in Kirklees, raising the profile of the fire service in all communities, as well as his ongoing charity work, were highlighted as reasons for his selection.
“Just being a part of the awards was a privilege for me,” he added.
“During my time with AFSA, I have seen how much impact an organisation like this can have on the way we work.
“It has been great working alongside these members for the past three years and I have to thank them all for their continued support.”
Also representing Yorkshire at the awards ceremony was PC Amjad Ditta – Positive Action Co-ordinator with West Yorkshire Police and Balvinder Singh Bains – Business Support Manager with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services.
The latter was nominated for the Outstanding Endeavour award, whilst PC Ditta was highly commended in the Positive Action category.
Previously speaking about what his role with the Force entails, PC Ditta said: “West Yorkshire Police will always be committed to bringing the best people into the service.
“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.”