My family are from a long-line of police officers. I am Kenyan and my father was a police officer for 40 years in Kenya, serving most of his time in traffic. I remember his uniform was always nicely ironed, and his shoes were always beautifully polished.
I moved to the UK and studied HR at Durham University. I met the father of my children, and we had two boys. During a visit to Kent to see my cousin, I attended the Kent County Show where we visited the Kent Police stand. There I met a sergeant who talked to me about the pros of being a police officer and he talked a lot about the impact of the death of Stephen Lawrence. I decided to apply to Kent Police because their application process made it feel like a level playing field. It made me feel very confident that when I applied, I would get in through my own merit and not the merit of being a black female officer.
I joined Kent Police in 2005, because I wanted to help people. I like talking to people and I’m a good listener. I really wanted to help people who are from ethnic diverse backgrounds because a lot of us come from a culture where they fear police officers and will not come forward when they need support or help, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to change the concept of police officers being racist. I realised that if I did not join the police, how could I make a change.
I was very happy when I joined, however after my probation I knew uniform policing was not the right path for me as it was very fast paced. I decided to become a detective and moved into the Criminal Investigation Department as I loved the idea of managing a case and I qualified as a detective in 2009. I had set my goals and mapped out my career and decided that every five years I would go for a promotion. However, in 2007 I was blessed with a son, and I had to go down a different route and work towards promotions as and when I could fit them around family life. In 2020, I was promoted to a sergeant and am now working my way towards becoming an inspector.
I have always felt very supported in terms of my promotions by my supervisors. I found the promotional process difficult, but I have a fantastic mentor, who has not only supported me with this, but really supports me with my emotional well-being - I would recommend people to have a mentor. There was a time not so long ago, I contemplated leaving Kent Police, my mentor gave me support and guidance. After every meeting with my mentor, I walk out feeling six inches taller, my confidence is restored and clears my imposter syndrome. I can honestly say that Kent Police is a really good organisation to work for.
I always knew I wanted to work in child protection and I interviewed for a role, but unfortunately didn’t get it as I didn’t have enough experience. So, I applied for an attachment and managed to get a role in the Special Investigations Unit as it was known then, where I supported the child protection team and violent and sex offenders register (VISOR). I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in that department, and that was the main influence on my career. I have for the longer part of 18 years service within the field of protecting vulnerable people.
There are so many benefits being a police officer, as it gives you many skills. I have developed skills such as confidence, speaking in public, empathy and improved my listening skills. I remember when I was training, my trainer said you should always treat everybody that you come across like you would like a member of your family to be treated.
I personally do not think Black History Month should be just a month. I think it is something that should be a core part of schooling. It is something that people should be aware of so people are exposed to new cultures and learn about ethnic achievers from Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wangari Maathai and many many more. Carter Woodson, an African American historian, intended for black history to be taught as a part of American history and looked forward to the day when a designated period would no longer be needed and that would remain my wish too, not only in America but all over the world.