PC James Hart has been a police officer since 2008. After seven years of response policing, in April 2015 he joined the community cohesion team.
I always liked the idea of becoming a Police Officer and when I saw an advert in the local paper I decided to give it a go.
There aren’t a lot of jobs out there where you get paid for helping people. I have been lucky enough to have had a good childhood and life in general but many people are not as fortunate.
Policing appealed to me as I felt I could make a difference to people’s lives and be that person someone remembers for all the right reasons.
The community cohesion team are responsible for responding to perceived and actual tensions within the diverse and multi-cultural community of Bedfordshire.
We pride ourselves on being open and transparent with the community to build trust and provide a high visibility presence. We value diversity and culture and seek to protect our most vulnerable communities.
I meet with a variety of people to build on relationships, obtain intelligence, offer advice, seek out new contacts and gain as much information as I can about current issues within the community.
We work with young people in a variety of ways; we conduct stop and search workshops with partner agencies, deliver presentations to young people to provide knowledge and experience. I also mentor people and currently have one who has reached the interview phase to become a special constable.
The main thing I like about my job is the amount of time I get to spend in the community talking to people. Sometimes my role can turn into a mediator and someone impartial who has respect for all cultures and religions.
I am very visible in the community which I know people value.
I have received a lot of positive feedback from the community who are reassured to see police officers walking the streets, working within the community. Because of the relationships I’ve built up, I usually work out and about rather than at the police station.
I also take an active part in organising events, such as the recent Luton Carnival. We worked with Hillborough Junior School to organise a walking float of Bedfordshire Police.
Events such as this are a key aspect to our work to help build community relations and show how Bedfordshire Police work together with partner agencies to engage with the local community.
It is cliché to say I joined the job to help people but I genuinely did and every day I remain focused on doing what I can to help people.