A passion to help: PS Innayah Aziz’s graduation speech
Friday 4 November 2022
Over 400 neighbourhood police officers graduated from Police Now’s two-year National Graduate Leadership Programme last week.
Graduation ceremonies were held over two days to celebrate the officers’ achievements with friends and family.
Addressing her fellow cohort, Temporary Police Sergeant Innayah Aziz of West Midlands Police reflected on her time as a police officer over the last two-years, supporting her communities and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
Innayah’s sister Leah, who is also a police officer and attended the graduation to show her support, said: “Being sat in an auditorium and looking up to my sister Innayah, as well as being surrounded by her fellow colleagues, is a memory that will stay with me forever. Having joined the police around a similar time to Innayah, I can say that I have witnessed Innayah’s journey through the police and shared the many policing memories with her. I am so proud of her achievements and look forward to sharing our policing journey, and to follow closely behind her!”
Reminding her colleagues to squash the imposter syndrome, PS Innayah Aziz said: “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to stand in front of my peers at the most monumental times of our career. Two-years ago, we began our Police Now academy journey and now, we’ve returned to celebrate how far we’ve come, how much we’ve achieved and will continue to achieve.
“Becoming a police officer has been one of my proudest achievements, policing was never the career I considered for myself, but my passion was supporting vulnerable people in my community. From the age of 18 I volunteered for the NHS, supporting adults suffering with poor mental health as well as caring for those with disabilities. It was this passion to help people that led me to policing and ultimately applying for Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme.
“I stand here now, reflecting on my time as a police officer and the work I have done in my neighbourhood. I have worked to tackle long-term anti-social behaviour and criminal activity and have built long term partnerships across the area.
“A particularly proud moment for me is a long-term project I undertook in my neighbourhood team to tackle street drinking. When I joined the team, I could see just how prevalent the issue was and the effect it was having on the community. I looked at the work that was already being done but despite this, the problem wasn’t going away. I decided to speak to people – I listened to their struggles, addiction and trauma and built a greater understanding of the situation. I worked with local support groups including street pastors, food banks and the churches to provide those who wanted help with additional support. I also had to consider enforcement for those that wouldn’t engage, and worked with the local authorities to implement a Public Space Protection Order.
“The impact of my work I have not assessed based on numbers, figures or statistics – I have listened to the community who have openly discussed the positive results and impact on their lives. That leads me to Police Now’s mission. The mission to understand deep-rooted issues within our neighbourhoods. That mission has led me to where I am today and I continue to work towards it, inspiring other officers to make a difference in their communities. I am currently a ‘Syndicate Lead’ for Police Now, training the latest cohort of officers, which feels surreal but it’s amazing to be part of their journey.
“When I look at the nine new officers I have helped train, I see myself – the same nerves and worries but also the potential in all of them. I see drive, resilience and dedication and know they’ll be fantastic police officers.
“I have learned to deal with the imposter syndrome that I’m sure many of us have experienced, but remember that we’re all more than capable. My advice to everyone is to simply continue being amazing police officers – remember why you chose this career and remember you can do it.”
Applications for Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme are currently open. To hear about the impact that Police Now officers are making across the UK, please see Police Now’s latest Impact Report here.