Police Now academy: Abdullah Rafie, Thames Valley Police
National Graduate Leadership Programme 2022
Abdullah is no stranger to policing, as both his father and grandfather worked as police officers in Jordan. However, up until recently he had never seriously considered becoming a police officer himself.
Born and raised in the Middle East to a Jordanian father and British mother, Abdullah first moved to the UK for his master’s degree at Bath university. He then worked in digital marketing for three years before deciding to become a neighbourhood police officer with Police Now, in order to follow his passion for helping others and making a positive impact in society.
The National Graduate Leadership Programme begins with a seven–week training academy before officers are deployed into their respective police forces across the country for the remainder of the two-year programme. Participants also work towards their Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University.
“My attestation last Monday at Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme academy marked the start of my journey into policing. We’ve had one week of the academy so far and for the remaining six weeks I’ll continue training alongside other new police constables before permanently joining Thames Valley Police.
“With my dad and grandfather being police officers in Jordan, I’ve always been surrounded by ‘police talk’, but I never thought I’d join them and become an officer myself. Instead, I decided to study my undergraduate degree in Finance and Risk Management in Jordan and went on to study my master’s degree in Bath.
“After a few years of working a corporate job, I decided to quit and pursue a career which I’m more passionate about. My master’s degree in politics has instilled within me a desire to make an impact in society and help others, and so when I came across Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme whilst job-hunting, it instantly appealed to me. Both the message and structure of the programme chimed with my ambitions and hopes for a job, and so I quickly applied.
“When I initially started the Police Now academy, I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement – nothing outside of what I expected. From day two onwards however, I found myself really enjoying the programme and my confidence has grown already. My ‘syndicates’ (Police Now tutors) are brilliant, and my colleagues have been very supportive.
“Overall, I’ve found this week incredibly rewarding and the core policing skills that I’ve read about in our pre academy curriculum – be it the procedures for conducting a lawful arrest or searching a vehicle – have really sunk in.”
“Over the last two weeks, I’ve completed my Officer Safety Training (OST) and Emergency Life Support (ELS) training alongside the other Police Now officers who are joining Thames Valley Police.
“During the ELS training, we were taught the skills and knowledge for supporting an injured person, such as how to perform CPR or stem a bleed. I found this aspect of our training particularly rewarding and it opened my eyes to just how vital these skills will be when supporting members of the public in an emergency or when first on the scene to an incident. Both the thorough teaching and the opportunities we were given to practice the techniques have boosted my confidence, and I am going to keep on practicing to ensure my skills are continuously refreshed – one day, they might save someone’s life.
“In preparation for heading to my local beat, the OST was also extremely valuable. The training taught us how to defuse situations through listening and clear communication, as well as some key self-defence moves, should they ever be needed. The effective use of communication is vital when policing communities, so it’s great to really develop these skills.
“We have also recently had an introduction to information systems within force. It’s good to see how all the leg work a police officer does is safely and accurately recorded, whether it’s witness statements, risk assessments or key information for a case file. It emphasised the importance of being accurate and detailed in all the work I do.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in policing so far and it feels like it’s an environment I can thrive in going forward! I’m feeling more and more confident as the weeks go by and I’m eager to learn more about the various aspects of policing we are yet to cover. I am particularly looking forward to the upcoming field training shifts, where we will interact with members of the public for the first time as police constables, alongside our experienced tutors in force.”
“I have just completed two days of ‘field training’ on Thames Valley Police’s Response unit, as part of Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme academy, where I had an intense but fantastic first experience of the policing frontline.
“I enjoyed working alongside my colleagues in Thames Valley Police and, despite being a new police constable, I feel I was able to provide valuable support to the other officers during my field training shifts. We responded to a range of incidents and 999 calls during the shifts, including an assault and report of theft. We also responded to two separate incidents of domestic violence. At the first scene, whilst my colleagues supported the victim and ensured she felt safe, I spoke with the suspect to hear his version of events. Based on the information we gathered, my colleague was able to make an arrest and together we escorted a suspect to custody. I thought my colleagues’ communication skills were impeccable and I learnt a lot from watching them at work.
“Whilst responding to the other domestic violence incident, I instead spoke to the victim, putting to use the investigative and interview skills I’d learnt at academy to assist my colleague who was conducting the interview. Together, we ensured she felt safe and supported and that we gathered the evidence we needed. I listened very attentively and took careful notes, and we made sure that she understood all the different options available to her and the different safeguarding measures we could put in place. It was good to apply my training to real scenarios on the frontline and to see how I can work in a team to truly support members of the community and make an impact on people’s lives.
“It was this experience that really solidified the realities of the role for me and confirmed that, despite the challenges of frontline policing, I made the right choice in joining the service. I am excited for the rest of Police Now’s academy and working permanently in my Thames Valley team, where I will be able to make a difference in the community and work in such a varied and rewarding role.”
“I am really proud of my performance throughout the academy and feel excited to now put my training to use as a neighbourhood officer in Thames Valley Police. As I start working on the beat, I’ll be joining my father and grandfather who were both police officers before me. Like them, I hope to inspire others and make a difference in society. I know policing isn’t the easiest job, but I’ve seen first-hand just how rewarding it can be and the long-lasting positive change that it can bring to a community.
“Seven weeks ago, I was attested at Police Now’s academy, and since then I have managed to achieve things I never would have imagined in my previous job. I have already seen my core policing skills develop well, my confidence increase massively, and I have had the opportunity to support victims of crime in my field-training shifts. Starting the Police Now programme was a big career change for me, but I haven’t once regretted it, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”