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New police officer: ‘Rewarding aspects of policing inspired me to become a cop’

One of Nottinghamshire Police’s newest recruits says he was inspired to join the force after hearing about how rewarding it can be to help people during their worst moments.

PC Michael Chiu grew up in Belfast where people had a historic mistrust of the police – but one of his college tutors, a former cop, explained to him why it was such a rewarding profession.

The 24-year-old, who was born in Northern Ireland after his parents moved to the country from China in the mid-1990s, said: “People in Belfast were very anti-police as a result of what happened during The Troubles. If you told anyone you were a police officer, you weren’t going to have a good day!

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“That’s how it was while I was growing up and it wasn’t until I went to college that I began to think differently about the police. I was studying public services and all my tutors were ex-police officers. One of them was particularly inspiring and would talk about how rewarding it could be to help people when they are at their worst moment. That changed my perception of the police, 100 per cent.”

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It was during his time at Sheffield Hallam University, where he studied Business Studies, that PC Chiu’s inclination to become a police officer was cemented.

“The coronavirus pandemic was just starting and I was driving from my university accommodation to work,” he recalled. “Another driver was having a bit of road rage and basically shouted a load of racial abuse at me.

“Just ahead was a marked police car and I decided to go and tell the officer what had just happened. He took what I was telling him very seriously and went to speak to the driver. I didn’t stay as I just wanted to get to work, but the way the officer dealt with it just showed me that police officers are decent people and want to help. It definitely inspired me to apply for the police.”

PC Chiu was among 24 new police officers welcomed into Nottinghamshire Police during a passing out ceremony at the force’s headquarters on 26 November after completing an 18-week long training programme.

The cohort completed a mix of classroom training and operational attachments with their tutors. The new recruits have now been deployed across the county and are undertaking a range of duties in their new roles alongside their tutor officers.

As well as executing his core duties as a Response officer, PC Chiu said he wanted to inspire others to join the force.

He said: “I feel it is part of my responsibility to help motivate people from different backgrounds and diversities to at least think about joining the police.

“For me personally, I would love to see more people from the Asian communities apply, whether they’re from South-East Asia, India, Pakistan, China, India or Korea.

“I think that would help bridge relations between the police and minority communities where there might be a misguided stigma about police officers.

“If we have police officers who come from these same backgrounds and can speak the same languages, it will help change perceptions and attitudes.”

Chief Constable Craig Guildford, who oversaw the passing out parade along with Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper and Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, said he was delighted to see PC Chiu join the force.

Mr Guildford said: “I am delighted to welcome PC Chiu into our ranks and he is already showing tremendous promise.

“It is extremely pleasing to learn he wants to inspire people from ethnic minority backgrounds to join the force, as we are constantly working hard to attract the widest pool of diverse talent and we are making huge strides forward in this respect.

“The latest national Uplift figures show we are leading the way in terms of inclusivity after the service recruited the highest number of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds outside of London between April 2020 and September 2021.

“While it is pleasing we are once again outperforming the national average, there is work still be done and I would encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to come and work for us.”

The role of a police officer is challenging but highly rewarding. There are different entry routes to become a constable and complete Nottinghamshire Police’s internal training programme.

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These include working towards a degree at the same time as police training through the force’s pre-join degree and also its unique Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship programme.

The force will open recruitment for these different routes at different times, so people are advised to check the current vacancies page and the force’s social media for updates.

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