Police Now has been recognised at this year’s TARGETJobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards 2021 (Friday 1 October) – the largest early careers recruitment awards in the UK – for Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and for Police Now officer Sami Halepota’s Rising Star award.
Police Constable Samiullah (Sami) Halepota, a Surrey Police officer who recently graduated from the Police Now National Graduate Leadership Programme, won the Rising Star award for his part in a six-month operation dedicated to safeguarding young people through tackling Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) in Runnymede.
After becoming aware of repeat drug-related ASB in a local estate PC Halepota investigated further and identified two criminal youth peer groups operating in the area, led by several adults with potential links to county line drug dealing, firearms and violence.
Calls and visits were conducted to residents in the estate and multi-agency meetings were held between Children’s Services, the police and partner organisations to aid with intelligence gathering and information sharing. The adult offenders were targeted using innovative tools such as Child Abduction Warning Notices (CAWNs) and tailored use of ASB legislation to restrict criminal activity and actively safeguard the youths at risk of exploitation. In addition, support was offered to vulnerable children and their families.
Following PC Halepota’s work there was nearly a 50% reduction in overall ASB on the estate and no further significant concerns raised to the police of Children’s Services. A number of civil orders were also put in place for key offenders as well as set policies and procedures prepared with partner agencies.
PC Halepota realised one of the reasons that this much larger problem had gone unnoticed previously was that a lot of incidents weren’t being reported to the police by local residents. PC Halepota was motivated to not only tackle the ASB and CCE going on but also address this underlying problem and begin building better relationships with the residents.
He said: “Through the joint work of all involved, relationships have been built between the community and partners and we have open communication channels for ongoing support.”
PC Sami Halepota was recognised not only for his work in Runnymede, but also his courage in challenging his own adverse feelings towards the police as a Pakistani Muslim in a post 9/11 political environment, and driving change within force as General Secretary for the Surrey Police Association for Cultural Ethnicity.
He said “I never considered the police as a career before I saw the Police Now programme. Joining the police as a Pakistani Muslim was a challenge, a lot of people in my community didn’t understand why I would do it. It is challenging, but at the end of the day it is because of that, and because of wanting to make a difference, that I’ve gained a lot of opportunities. I’ve been allowed into places and platforms where I can actually make a difference. There’s always two sides to a story and I personally would rather come in and give a voice inside that institution than be on the outside and fear it.”
Police Now also picked up Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, for its diversity and inclusion strategy across its National Graduate Leadership Programme and National Detective Programme, in partnership with Renegade Communications.
The Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy award celebrates organisations that are proactively increasing the diversity of their early years’ intake through a more inclusive approach to attraction and selection.
Police Now also won two CIPD awards last week – Best Learning and Development Initiative – public/third sector, and Best Inclusion and Diversity Initiative – for its investment in diversity and inclusion and ability to deliver strong results in police recruitment and training, in the face of the significant challenges that the policing sector and the graduate recruitment sector has faced over the last year.
Police Now not only adapted its campaigns to deliver them entirely digitally during last year’s Coronavirus lockdowns – including developing a fully immersive 360 virtual neighbourhood – but it also recruited the largest ethnic minority diversity to be achieved in national police recruitment in this country, via their National Graduate Leadership Programme and National Detective Programme in 2020/21.
Clare Power, Director of Recruitment and Marketing at Police Now, said: “I am delighted that Police Now has been recognised by students in this year’s National Graduate Recruitment Awards, particularly given the prestige of the awards, and we are all particularly proud of PC Halepota who demonstrated a level of skill and results that are outstanding for someone who only recently joined the policing family.
The recognition we have received is a real testament to the strength of the Police Now brand and the belief in the programme, which has really shone through over the last few years despite the significant challenges the policing sector has faced over the last year.
None of this would be possible without the hard work of our Police Now colleagues and the team at Renegade, as well as the considerable support from our partner forces the Home Office.”
Andy Wood, Co-founder and Strategy Director at Renegade Communications, said: “Having a police force that truly represents today’s society is one of the most important issues in our country today. It’s extremely satisfying to work alongside Police Now on such an important mission and to have this work recognised by these awards. Police Now’s bravery in tackling these complicated issues head-on with authenticity was core to the initiative’s success and we’re delighted to have delivered such historic results.”
The TARGETJobs award ceremony was held on Friday 1 October at Grosvenor House in London. Nearly 100,000 individual votes from undergraduates, apprentices and school leavers were counted in the lead up to the awards, and Police Now and Sami Halepota were selected as award winners by a panel made up exclusively of students.
Police Now has recruited over 2,000 officers across 33 forces in England and Wales since it was established six years ago. Police Now’s mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, and increase the public’s confidence in the police service by recruiting, developing and inspiring outstanding and diverse individuals to be leaders in society and on the policing frontline.