PC Manpreet Thiara makes a difference
Thursday 18 May 2023
Story credit: Thames Valley Police.
At the beginning of 2023, Police Constable (PC) Manpreet Thiara went viral on Twitter talking about her career as a police officer whilst also being a single mum. She receives support with her career from Thames Valley Police (TVP) and Police Now’s Frontline Leadership Programme.
She recently spoke to TVP about her policing career and how she is making a difference.
Manpreet, tell us a bit about yourself. I was born in India and moved to the UK for my studies. I settled here with my ex-husband and children, but still have family in India. I am a single mum and would like to inspire single parents to consider policing as a career.
Why did you decide to join policing? I have a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and after graduation I worked in finance and accounting. I knew I wanted a career where I could have a positive impact and make a difference in society, protecting the vulnerable. I knew being a Police Officer is a demanding and rewarding job, but it was the right fit for me.
How has your career as a police officer been so far? I have been a Police Officer for over 4 years now, and I am really enjoying it. In my first two years, I was a Police Officer on Response, doing shift work; I learned a lot, and had loads of support and chances to grow. The next step in my career was working in the Prisoner Handling Unit, where I was able to develop my management and leadership skills, working with a variety of internal stakeholders and members of the public, supporting victims of domestic abuse. Since November 2022, I have been working in the Central Fraud Unit (CFU).
Where do you see your career in policing heading? Last year I passed my Sergeant’s exam, and in March 2022, I was selected for the Police Now Frontline leadership course. I would like to be a Chief Officer one day, and I am working hard now to make my leadership foundation stronger, so that when the time comes, I am prepared to take that next step in my career. In policing, I have found that there are numerous opportunities to develop yourself personally and professionally, you just must find the ones that suit you best. I also enjoy helping others grow in their careers, making sure they are supported in pursuing their aspirations.
How are you making a difference in policing? As a woman of colour, single mum, of Asian background, I strive to inspire others to pursue their ambitions and develop their policing careers. I am a member of TVP’s SAME (Support Association for Minority Ethnic) Staff Network, I am part of the executive team of the recently launched Women of Colour in Policing group, and in the future, I am looking to develop a Thames Valley Police Single Parent Support Group for my TVP colleagues, helping other single parents and police officers or police staff along the way. I want to make sure I am there to support others in their journey.
You are a single mom and a police officer. What advice would you give single parents considering policing as a career? Being a single parent and a Police Officer are both demanding, yet rewarding jobs, with plenty of challenges. When I first joined policing, I honestly did not know if I could do both, but with the right support and the guidance from my management and from my own kids, I have been driving forward my ambitions.
I was also inspired by a conversation I had with TVP’s Chief Constable (CC), John Campbell, at the beginning of my training as a police officer, which has stuck with me ever since. I was at TVP’s Training Centre in Sulhamstead, and my colleagues and I met the Chief in the library by accident and started having a conversation with him; I told him about my situation as a single mum, and he shared with us his own personal experience as a parent. I remember CC Campbell’s advice: “There are plenty of opportunities available within the force, and we need people like you, as a force we strive to be inclusive and support our TVP people in achieving their dreams.” He encouraged me to apply for a flexi plan, which helped me develop my career, but also be able to do my job as a mum.
What do your children think about their mum being a police officer? They are proud of me. They are always curious about my job, if they see a movie or something related to policing, they always ask me what I would do if I would be in that situation. I think I might have inspired them, when they grow, I would like them to take on roles that help our communities.
What would you say to someone considering joining policing? If you really want to make a difference, and want a rewarding yet challenging job, go for it! Just apply – I would say to any single parents or parents with responsibilities. I know it might be daunting for them to join and they might be having second thoughts, or they might be thinking about whether they can do it. I would just tell them, from my experience, if I can do it, they can do it too. I know it is hard, but it is possible.
Following the success of her tweet, ITV News Meridian spoke to Manpreet at the beginning of 2023 about her career and why she wants to encourage other single parents to join policing – watch the video to learn more: