“When women support women, they can heal, empower, and give strength”

My name is Lila Begum and I am a survivor of child and forced marriage, as well as a survivor of domestic abuse.

I have been supporting Bedfordshire Police as a volunteer for nearly ten years, initially as member of the Independent Advisory Group and now on the Chief Constable panel.

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I have worked both professionally and voluntarily for over 20 years, supporting victims of domestic abuse, forced marriage and honour-based violence.

I am always ready to support anyone who seeks my help, even if it is in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning.

Having my rights to live as a child, access education and live life without fear, were all deprived from me.

I  also faced many discriminations because of my faith and ethnicity, including discrimination from my own community because of being bought up by a single parent.

It all hurt, but this did not stop me from helping others, it also helped me to survive.

I was very fortunate to have met many amazing women who gave me the inspiration and strength to live life and my mother was one of these amazing women. During her own personal hardship, she never ceased to help others and stood by those who faced injustice. She spoke for those during a time where women were not to be seen or heard.

My friend Carol who mentored me to ensure I reach my potential professionally, Glenis who looked after my children when I needed medical care after a horrific incident.

Debra from Nine Red, who I never met in person but helped at a time in my life where I needed practical help to keep me safe.

Delphi, Rehena and Clare who helped me be heard.

My manager Joella, who believed in me and made my workspace safe.

My best friends Nasima, Jay, Shamela and Fsella who wiped my tears and picked up the broken pieces, without them all life would’ve been hard.

When women support women, they can heal, empower, and give strength, like how these amazing women did to me.



My ambition is to help this force achieve excellence

At Bedfordshire Police everybody matters; every person in the chain matters and we all add value to the objective, which is to keep people safe.

We are a small cardre of Superintendents and Chief Superintendents and the expectation is that you can do lots of different things and that you’re omnicompetent across different areas. There’s responsibility of the entire force sitting on your shoulders at times and relationships with other people are important to get the job done. But there’s lots of room for ideas, innovation and for thinking of how we can do things better and differently.

My ambition is to help this force achieve excellence and I think everybody who works here wants the force to be excellent.

There are pockets of excellence everywhere I look and some really superb people, working against the odds at times, to achieve some fantastic outcomes.

When I joined Bedfordshire Police I was put into a role that suited my skills, which is something that is nice to have happen to you. Often in policing you’re just put in a job and not much account is taken of your skill set and your experience, nothing could be further from the truth at Bedfordshire Police. The Detective Chief Superintendent at the time, sat down with me and found out about me, what I’m good at, what skills I have and gave me, in my opinion, the best job in the force.

It was good to feel valued, to have someone look at what I’ve done in the past and think you can add real value for us in this role.

I transferred to Bedfordshire Police after spending 18 years in the Met. Moving out of the Met was a big decision for me but it was fuelled by wanting to work for my home force and help make the county I live in be the safest place for my family. Another driver was the opportunities available by being a part of a tri-force collaboration and working with teams in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, as well as the potential for secondment this gives.

Bedfordshire has metropolitan problems but with county level, rural funding and it felt most closely aligned with my experiences in the Met. Luton feels very much like a London borough; the problems and the challenges are very similar.

I felt it was like something I know and can bring value to.

Julie Henderson, Detective Superintendent.

Our Superintendent and Chief Superintendent recruitment process is currently open, applications close on Sunday 4 October. If you would like to join Bedfordshire police please visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk/superintendents