A 46-year-old parent is training to become a police officer having been inspired by his grandfather’s service during the Second World War.
PC Hakeem Ahmed said he wants to serve and protect others – just like his grandfather did when he joined the Royal Navy and helped defend Britain at sea.
It is estimated over five million Muslims participated on the allied side of the war, including Hakeem’s grandfather, Muhammed Hussain.
Hakeem, who is a qualified Islamic scholar, said his grandfather’s role in the war – and that of a second relative – had inspired him to serve the public.
Speaking as Nottinghamshire Police commemorates Remembrance Day today, the married father-of-four, who is also a foster parent, said: “My grandfather was on one ship and his younger brother was on another. His brother’s ship was bombed and he was killed. My grandfather was greatly affected by the war and refused to talk about it but I am very proud of his courage and sense of duty.
“My grandfather’s service has encouraged me to serve the community that I live in.”
Hakeem is training to become a police officer after gaining a place on the force’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme.
As part of the PCDA, he is now on the first year of a three-year probationary period where he will do weeks of training school alongside the input from the University of Derby. He will also finish up with a degree.
“I have always been interested in joining the police but my children were young,” he said. “I started to think that maybe now is the right time to consider joining the police but I felt I was too old.
“I spoke to a friend of mine who works for Nottinghamshire Police. I mentioned my reservations about my age to him, but he reassured me that the police would be very interested in employing some like me as with my age comes life experience and a wealth of knowledge.
“Taking his advice, I applied for the apprenticeship. There were various routes available in applying for the police but I was really interested in the PCDA programme. I get to work as a police officer and study a related degree to enable me to be the best PC I can be and fulfil my potential.”
Born and raised in Nottingham after his parents moved to Britain in 1955, Hakeem’s journey to Nottinghamshire Police has been decades in the making.
After finishing school, he achieved a Higher National Diploma in computing at Leicester’s De Montfort University in 1999.
After working in computing for a few years, he became increasingly interested in Islam and decided to study at Jamiatul ilm wal Huda – an Islamic university in Lancashire, where he qualified as an Islamic scholar after studying for seven years.
By 2009 he had launched an education facility in Sneinton where Hakeem and four other teachers taught up to 120 students a day, four days a week.
Last year, the coronavirus pandemic sadly forced the closure of the academy and Hakeem began looking for his next challenge.
He decided to apply for a job with Nottinghamshire Police after learning about its shared PROUD values – professional; respect for all; one team; utmost integrity, trust and honesty; and doing it differently.
“After learning about Nottinghamshire Police’s vision, code of ethics and PROUD values, I found that these were intertwined with Islamic values and that the both complement each other really well,” Hakeem said.
“As an Islamic scholar and Imam, I felt that I could represent my community within the force as it encourages diverse representation, i.e. ‘the public are the police and the police are the public’.
“I want to inspire other Muslims and people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to join the police, as well as older age groups.”
Hakeem began the apprenticeship in September and has been impressed with his new colleagues.
He said: “When I started my job I was very impressed with the leadership of Nottinghamshire Police. On day two we had a meeting with Chief Constable Craig Guildford and I liked that he spoke to us one by one and not just as a group. He asked questions and showed an interest in each and every one of us.
“Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin came to see us and we could feel his passion for the PCDA program. I also met Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper at my attestation and we spoke for a while and was extremely humble. I was amazed at the approachability of the leadership team.”
Hakeem has been equally impressed with his trainers, Lisa McBeal and Adam Buttery.
“They are awesome,” he said. “They knew I was a Muslim and they prepared a prayer room for me and asked if there was anything else they could do for me.
“I mentioned that I had ADHD, so they facilitated things for me in the classroom to make things easier for me. They also provided a quiet room for me when I need sometime for myself.
“They are so approachable and show genuine care for our progression. We’re one month into the programme and I have learnt so much from them.
“In weeks three and four I met my university teachers Mark Flint-Freel and Barry Archer. They are two ex-cops who have now become lecturers. Hearing their stories of things they have done as police officers has been a real inspiration.
“It’s been a great month so far and I look forward to spending more time with my Nottinghamshire Police family.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said he was delighted Hakeem had chosen to write the next chapter of his career with Nottinghamshire Police.
He said: “We are delighted that PC Ahmed has joined our ranks. I am often asked what qualities we look for when recruiting police officers and I always say someone with a good moral compass. In that respect, PC Ahmed is exactly the type of person we look for.
“I am particularly pleased that PC Ahmed has enrolled on our Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme, as it highlights the fact you can become an apprentice and learn new skills at any age.
“There’s no upper age limit for applying to the police service. We have recruited PC Ahmed because he has a passion for serving the community and possesses many of the skills and qualities needed to become an excellent cop.
“I wish PC Ahmed all the best as he embarks on an exciting journey with us.”