I was born and brought up in Luton, and I had always thought of the police as an interesting career. I wasn’t sure if it would be right for me because I was aware that not many people from ethnic backgrounds worked in policing. I was also aware of some of the more negative media stories that had circulated about the police over the years.
Because I lived in the local community, I thought I would be able to add value to Bedfordshire Police because I had an understanding of the area and its diverse communities.
I also wanted to do a job where I was helping some of the more vulnerable people in our county, and where I could really make a difference in the community where I grew up. I decided to apply.
I was successful at my interview and the assessment centre, and started working on patrol in Luton. Initially I was a bit worried about what friends and family would say – I thought there would be people who would ask me if I was sure it was the right path for me. But the reaction was the complete opposite – my family were, and still are, really proud of me and my friends were very supportive.
I hadn’t come from an academic background, so I was worried I wouldn’t reach the required level. But I worked really hard and applied myself, and now I’ve reached the rank of Inspector which is proof that everyone has the ability to do well if they work hard and are dedicated.
Being based in Luton meant I was dealing with a bit of everything and no day was ever the same. I really enjoyed the satisfaction of helping people – there are very few jobs where you can feel like you’ve made a real difference to people’s lives.
To start with, it was a bit of an alien environment for me as I’d come in at 30 years old and not really worked in such a structured way before. It did take some getting used to, but I soon found my feet. I got on well with my colleagues as we shared the same values. Working on patrol is a great working environment and it has a great atmosphere.
I always felt I had the support of my supervisors, and was encouraged to think about career progression. I’d never considered that before but because of the support I received I started to think about what I could do next.
I took and passed my Sergeant’s exam, and took on my first leadership position within three years of joining the force. Up to that point I had mainly worked on the front line, and I decided I’d like to work in neighbourhood policing.
I started in Marsh Farm, which is where I grew up. People don’t really have good things to say about Marsh Farm, but because I’d grown up there I was keen to go back and give something back to the community and try to make a difference.
I was there for six months, working to understand the issues faced by the community and the people living there, and working to come up with long term and sustainable solutions to those problems.
I then decided that I’d like a new challenge so I moved to Custody as a Custody Sergeant. I thought it would be interesting to try to help people who may have fallen into criminality and my time in custody gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people. I was able to learn a lot about them and find out about the events that had led them to end up in Custody.
I then passed my Inspector’s exam and am now working to encourage other people from BME communities to think about a career with the force. I strongly believe that the force needs to be more reflective of the communities we serve; at the moment, we know that it’s not, despite trying hard. Having a more diverse workforce will help our whole community as well as our workforce and it’s a project that I am proud to be involved with.
Inspector Mo Aziz joined Bedfordshire Police in 2005. During his time with the force, he has been an officer on patrol, a Custody Sergeant and is now working to encourage more people from black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds to think about a career with the force.
Police Officer recruitment is now open, with applications due to close on 5 February 2017. For more information, visit our website.