The story of my application to join Bedfordshire Police has been filmed by the BBC documentary series One Day That Changed My Life. I was really happy to take part in the show, which followed me through what has turned out to be a genuinely life changing day. You can still catch up with the show on the iPlayer.
I was rejected at the application stage when I first applied to join the police two years ago. At that stage, I thought it was the end of my journey. I honestly thought I was a failure because I could not even pass an online application.
At the same time I applied, I just finished my training as a Special Constable. I know specials don’t get paid for the hours they put in, but I think the experience that comes with it is unreal because it gives you a taste and a deep insight of what it is like to be a police officer, even though you are only volunteering.
Once when I was on duty, I met a very vulnerable person who had overdosed on drugs and left the hospital. Just hearing his story was heart breaking as he only wanted someone to talk to because of everything that he had going on, and as a police officer I believe that I can and I will help people like that who are in need of someone, not only to protect them, but to be able to just listen as well.
I volunteered as a Special Constable for two years whilst I was studying and I enjoyed every bit of it. It was this two year experience that gave me the confidence to apply to join as a full-time officer again, as I knew that this is the job that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
A lot of people probably don’t think the police force is the right career for a young Asian woman. My mum is one of those people! Living in a predominantly Asian community has its positives but it brings its negatives too, and I want to be able to build relations between the police and the public and be able to give back to the community as well.
I want to show people that you can be a good police officer and support your communities regardless of your background.
I passed the application and my assessment centre, and the TV cameras followed me through the preparation for the interview through to the day itself. The day before my interview I did not sleep very well - all I could think about was how I was going to answer the questions!
I was already nervous in the interview, as the programme showed. I always get nervous in interviews but these nerves were something else.
Imagine having cameras in your interview room, two extra people filming as well as the two people that were interviewing you, the nerves from just having the interview to start off with, remembering all the notes that I crammed in the day before and knowing this was going to go on TV… this was all I could think about before going in.
But just like before, I did not give up. I knew this is what I wanted and I kept my focus and in the end I was able to do myself justice during the interview.
When they told me I had been successful, I was overcome with joy. This was something I had worked towards for more than two years, and that feeling of being accepted was absolutely overwhelming. It was so embarrassing to cry in front of a chief inspector though! I was just so happy that I had passed the tears just kept flowing.
This whole process has taught me that if you really want something, you have to put your all into it and don’t get too downhearted by any setbacks. Take me as an example. I did not think I would pass the application stage at all as I had failed previously, then I didn’t think I would pass the assessment centre and I didn’t think I would pass the interview either. But I did. Each stage I put in 110% and I did it!
I am now having loads of fun in training with the other new recruits at Dunstable. I have such an amazing and supporting team, and should be out on the streets carrying out my first duties in the next few weeks. I am so excited about helping people and making a difference, and can’t wait to get out there and get started.