Police Constable Latia Suen said: “I initially thought I would do a law conversion course and train to be a solicitor, but I came across Police Now at a career fair and began to consider the police instead. I think there is a general misconception that policing isn’t a natural career to join after doing a degree, but Police Now challenged this notion and offered a structured route into the force that felt like a natural progression from my studies. Police Now’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion and driving change in communities as a neighbourhood police officer also appealed to me.
“My lived experience as a mixed race white and Jamaican woman growing up in a predominantly white village in Norfolk taught me that, whether I liked it or not, some people in this world would treat me differently because of the colour of my skin. Growing up, I received comments about my tightly coiled hair, with comments about my ‘exotic’ look or questions about where I’m ‘really’ from. With the prospect of a policing career ahead of me, I made a promise to myself that if I joined, I would strive to make my environment more inclusive for the next generation of young woman like me, by engaging with those that have the power to influence change.
“With that in mind, I became involved in the Surrey Police Association of Culture and Ethnicity. As Vice Chair of SPACE, I take an active role in supporting the day-to-day running of the network. I think we have done a good job at driving diversity and inclusion initiatives forward in the last couple of years. Since I joined in 2020, I have seen our membership rocket and I have seen a lot of strong support from senior management.
“I am also now looking at the steps I can take to pass my Sergeants’ exam. I think it’s so important that we not only get more women and more people from diverse backgrounds into the force, but that we also support each other into leadership positions and drive change from every level.
“I have also worked hard to be open and approachable to build positive relationships with members of my local community in Surrey. Although I am now on the force’s Response team responding to 999 calls, the ties I built with the community during my time as a neighbourhood police officer has been invaluable.
“For example, I was recently made aware of a murder case being investigated by a neighbouring force. They had built up a lot of intelligence in the case but hadn’t yet identified a suspect. When the case came to my attention, I recognised that the description matched someone who I knew from my time on neighbourhoods. I alerted the force which assisted in the arrest of the suspect and subsequent charge. It was great to utilise intelligence built from my time on neighbourhoods in a serious investigation.
“I have only been in force for a couple of years, but I have had the chance to work with a wide range of policing teams and community partners. It is a tough job but if you are determined, you can really make tangible change to peoples’ lives from the start of your career and I would encourage others to consider a career in policing.”