Christmas Chronicles: PC Obinna Anoliefo building public confidence in policing
Monday 19 December 2022
Police Constable Obinna Anoliefo has been engaging with the public at Bishop’s Stortford Christmas Fayre this festive season, in his role as a neighbourhood police officer.
Spreading Christmas cheer, PC Anoliefo engaged with local children and conducted foot patrols at the fayre, making sure no one was ‘up to snow good’ and ensuring young people recognise that police officers are approachable and are there to help.
PC Anoliefo joined Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2021 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, which places outstanding graduates in neighbourhood policing teams across the country to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and build public confidence in the police service.
He tells us about his motivations for joining the service, the work he has been doing on Bishop’s Stortford Neighbourhood Policing Team to build positive community relationships, and the award he received from his chief inspector for securing a closure order on an address following reports of drug use and anti-social behaviour.
Police Constable Obinna Anoliefo:
“As a neighbourhood police officer, you are the face of the organisation. You are what members of the public see first, and often you are who they approach first if something happens. My role is to be out there, to be approachable, to be open.
“Engaging with the public at community events like the Bishop’s Stortford Christmas Fayre helps me do this. It was great talking to the kids there (some of them had a fun time trying on my hat!) and being on hand to deter any anti-social behaviour or keep people safe from potential pick-pocketing.
“It is so important for the force to build positive relationships with the community, so there is trust that goes both ways and we create safer neighbourhoods together. It means the public are more willing to come forward to report crime or offer intelligence when incidents do happen, and community partners work collaboratively with us to solve long-term issues.
“The neighbourhood policing role is all about prevention and proactively building these relationships, but we do a lot of fast-paced intelligence-led policing too, like carrying out warrants and working with the Response Unit to respond to emergency calls. I’ve conducted multi-agency operations to tackle forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, and worked on financial crime and serious benefits fraud too. It’s a very comprehensive role, with a lot of variety.
“Something I am very proud of is securing a closure order on an address in the town following reports of drug use and anti-social behaviour. I spoke to residents in the area who gave anonymous witness statements to help me collate important evidence. Alongside my colleagues, I helped compile a 95-page evidence report and present it in court to secure the closure order. People who had been living in the area and been victims of crime due to the drug-related activity going on approached me afterwards to tell me how much their lives had improved thanks to my work. I also helped schedule a community engagement meeting following the verdict. It was a highlight of my policing career so far to see the real impact I was making on people’s lives, and I also received an award from my local chief inspector for the work. Seeing the difference I can make motivates me to always keep pushing forwards.
“Back home when I was a child, my parents asked me, “What do you want to do?” They ask everyone in my family, it is tradition. I said I wanted to do something where I can help people. I decided to join Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme so I could be a neighbourhood officer on the frontline and because I really related to their mission to transform communities and build public confidence in policing. The programme has offered me a lot of support, and it is very important to me personally to have a mission within my career. Growing up, I have been a victim of crime myself, when sums of money were fraudulently withdrawn from my account. Fortunately, the offender was promptly caught and dealt with. So, I know how it feels to be on the other end of the justice system, and what I’m doing now is helping people like me and making sure justice is served and the public is protected.”
Applications for Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme are currently open for talented graduates who want to positively transform communities and become leaders in policing and in society.
For more information on the stats referenced above, please see Police Now’s latest Impact Report here.