Police Now Alumni Spotlight: PC Kavhita Sahota, Neighbourhood Police Officer in Derbyshire Constabulary
Thursday 25 August 2022
Police Constable Kavhita Sahota joined Derbyshire Constabulary in 2019 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. The first person in her family to join the police service, she talks to us about how her family reacted to the decision and the difference she’s making in her community as a neighbourhood police officer.
Whilst on Police Now’s programme Kavhita worked hard to support victims of crime and build rapport with members of her community – including settling a neighbour dispute for an elderly victim of harassment and anti-social behaviour. She also completed an external secondment with the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation Team.
Since graduating Police Now’s two-year programme, Kavhita has remained in her neighbourhood policing role to continue to build strong relationships in the community and improve public confidence in the police service. She is currently working with her colleagues to tackle knife and drug crimes and has recently spent two weeks deployed in Birmingham to support the safe delivery of the Commonwealth Games.
PC Kavhita Sahota
Police Constable Kavhita Sahota:
“I studied a degree in Criminology and worked part time as a retail assistant before I joined the police service in 2019. I joined Derbyshire Constabulary via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, a two-year programme which trained and supported me in my role as a neighbourhood police officer.
“I had always had an interest in joining the police, but I am the first person in my family to do so. I come from a Sikh Indian family, and I think my family were a little worried when I decided to join the police. They had the usual worries about safety, but also about what I might experience as an Asian woman in the police and on the frontline. However, they have always been supportive and they can see that I feel very fulfilled in the role.
“It was a bit daunting when I first applied, but I work with amazing and supportive colleagues within the sector. Together, we make a difference to people’s lives and to communities. My family can see that and are proud of me for it.
“I am based at Ascot Drive police station, which covers Derby East. I joined this team as a neighbourhood police officer during Police Now’s two-year programme.
“During that time, I settled a neighbour dispute for an elderly woman who reported harassment, noise complaints and numerous instances of anti-social behaviour from one of her neighbours. I was able to work with partnership agencies and get an injunction put in place against the offending neighbour which prevented them from contacting this elderly woman – allowing her to go back to living her life without fear of further issues. We worked to safeguard the elderly woman and get help put in place for the offending neighbour, to try and improve both of their lives and care for the wellbeing of all individuals involved.
“Even though I resolved this dispute a while ago, I stayed in touch with the woman and regularly check-in on her to make sure she feels supported. Although I did a lot during my first two years in policing, this case really stands out for me because of the rapport I built with the victim. She says we made such a difference to her life and she was finally able to feel safe in her own home again.
“I think building rapport with victims of crime and members of the community is incredibly important and I have made it a key part of my policing. I make a concerted effort to keep in touch with those that I have supported and check in on them regularly. This not only helps build public confidence in policing and safeguards victims of crime in the long term, but it has helped me become a well-known face in the community, and when members of the community feel comfortable speaking to us it helps us gather intelligence and keep people safe.
“Whilst I was on Police Now’s programme, I was also able to undertake a short secondment in the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Child Exploitation Team. The Police Now secondments are quite competitive, so I was pleased when I secured this opportunity. The experience was very useful; I learnt a lot about the technology used in Child Sexual Exploitation investigations, and it allowed me to bring ideas back to the force for how we can better utilise our own technology. I kept in close contact with colleagues at the NCA, who have said they will come to me as a point of contact within force if they need any support for cases in Derbyshire.
“Having already embedded myself in the community during my first two years, I decided to stay within my neighbourhood policing team when I graduated Police Now’s programme. I am now continuing to build strong relationships in the community and improve public confidence in policing. I work hard to gain respect from people in the community in order to police effectively, but I also make an effort to be friendly and be seen as a human being, not just a uniform. A lot of the young people in the Derby East area know me and even banter with me in the streets or come over just to say hello.
“I am currently very focused on tackling drug crime and knife crime; both are incredibly important issues and I am passionate about making my community safer by reducing instances of violence. As a team, we have been going on patrols in known knife-crime hot spot areas to remove weapons from the streets and gather intelligence on prolific offenders. We recently received intelligence from a member of the public that a certain vehicle in the area was involved in a drug dealing operation. We ran a covert policing operation and managed to seize the vehicle and levy a charge against one of the offenders. Removing drugs from the streets in turn reduces violence or drug-related crimes, so has a huge effect on communities.
“I also recently spent two weeks deployed in Birmingham, where I worked alongside colleagues from across the country to support the safe delivery of the Commonwealth Games. The national policing operation saw thousands of officers working together to ensure the Games were safe and secure. My role was to help protect and secure the athletes’ village, where competing athletes and their teams from around the commonwealth came to live and train together for the games. I was able to meet people from around the world, and it was so interesting to be able to learn about their home countries and the sports they were so passionate about, whilst also answering questions they had about what it is like to be a police officer in the UK. This was a great experience, and whilst it was hard to be away from family and friends, I have amazing memories and I was proud to be a part of such a large policing operation.
“I might consider moving to the Response Unit in the future and I am also interested in the Firearms Unit – which requires exceptional communication skills in order to de-escalate high-risk situations. However, for the foreseeable future, I am very happy in neighbourhood policing. I love my team and I have a great sergeant and inspector. Together, we drive positive impact and proactively tackle crime in the community every day.
“Policing can be a tough job, so you need a strong support network, but I love going to work every day. My family and friends keep me motivated, as does my Sergeant and Neighbourhood Policing Team. It sounds cliché, but we really are a policing family. I would absolutely recommend a career in policing to anyone considering it.”