Asif joined the City of London Police in 2005 as a Special Constable and after a year, went on to join as a full-time Police Officer. He is now based at Wood Street Police Station in the City of London and is the Head of the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Unit. Over the last ten years, he has worked in a number of different departments within the Police Service such as Counter Terrorism, Economic Crime, CID, Community Policing and the Business Policing Team. He is currently working on his Masters degree in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism and has just completed a foundation degree in Justice Studies, to add to his degree in Management and Human Resource Management, foundation degree in Computing Science and diploma in Sales and Marketing.
Working with a number of voluntary schemes to try to help people from the community, Asif has received a number of awards including the Leadership, Enterprise and Citizenship Award, Lion Heart Business Challenge Award, Year of the Volunteer Award and the prestigious Mosaic Award for mentoring. He’s also twice been a finalist for the Police Officer of the Year Award as well as a finalist for the Diversity Award through Jane’s Police Review, the ENEI award and the Asian Achievers Award. This year, he was a winner of the NAMP Multi Faith Award, Police Officer of the Year Award, the Civil Servant of the Year Award and the prestigious Asian Professional Award.
What difference does a diverse workforce make to policing the City?
The communities we serve are very diverse and it only makes sense to have a police force that is reflective of the communities that it serves as this improves trust and confidence in policing. It also makes business sense as crime is changing so much and it is important to understand the complexity of changing crimes, especially the ones which have a impact on certain communities and having a diverse workforce improves the police’s understanding.
Is it simply about representation?
Not at all. I think people need to understand that it is not about race, religion or any other group; it’s about the different skills people bring and the different competences they possess, which make a difference to policing. We need that diversity of thinking within policing and that’s what we aim for.
What are the most successful strategies you’ve put in place?
We have started to look at how we advertise police jobs, as in the past we have always tried to sell policing as a uniformed career; and although this is appealing to a lot of people, we have found that it’s not the case for everyone. Therefore, we now look at advertising police careers as more than just a uniformed role and showcasing all the specialist department we have within policing.
But what about the future? What are your biggest challenges?
Our biggest challenge I believe is trying to recruit, retain and progress best talent. This is more difficult due to the cutbacks that the police service faces over the coming years; however, the cutbacks have provided us with an opportunity to look at how we can improve the services we deliver and look at some of the changing challenges we are facing, like cyber crime.
You’re also an Ambassador for Remembering Srebrenica. What can we in the UK learn from that terrible event?
The biggest lesson we can learn is that hate has no place in society and that we must challenge hate wherever we see it, as it’s the small incidents of hate which then become bigger if unchallenged. We must also remember that this genocide took place in Europe and less than 20 years ago, which goes to show it can happen again quite easily if we don’t all do our part to challenge hate.
Finally, you’re a Police Officer as well; do you get called into action?
The short answer is “yes, I do” but it’s not that often nowadays. I tend to assist more with the strategic elements of policing. However, that’s not to say that I can’t get called out at any time and I do still enjoy the buzz of uniformed policing.