Police Constable Samiullah (Sami) Halepota, a Surrey Police officer who recently graduated from the Police Now National Graduate Leadership Programme, won Workplace Hero at this year’s Ethnicity Awards.
PC Halepota also won Rising Star at last month’s TARGETJobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards, for his part in a six-month operation dedicated to safeguarding young people through tackling Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE).
The Ethnicity Awards promote the achievements of individuals in workplaces and in society, who have used their platform to advance equality and opportunity for people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The Workplace Hero award shines a light on a diversity champion who has worked passionately to move the dial on the Black, Asian and minority ethnic agenda within their workplace.
PC Sami Halepota won the award for his passion and drive to affect change within the police service. He has spoken candidly about growing up in fear of the police and his perceptions of the police as a Muslim. However, he used this as motivation to ‘be the change’ he wants to see, through joining the policing frontline.
He has used his position as a neighbourhood police officer, and more recently on the force’s domestic abuse team, to build stronger relationships between the public and the police; both working to dispel misconceptions about the police in his own community as well as working to ensure that the police take a sensitive and nuanced approach to working with people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Since joining the service two years ago, he has worked as General Secretary for Surrey Police Association for Cultural Ethnicity, a network which aims to observe, promote and support cultural awareness within Surrey Police and the community. He is also a current member of the Police Now Diversity & Inclusion committee.
Detective Chief Superintendent Sailesh Limbachia, Programme Director for the force’s Professional Action Learning Set (PALS) said: “Sami has been with the force a relatively short time, but the impact he has made in that time has been tremendous. He is a very active member of SPACE – the Surrey Police Association of Culture and Ethnicity – and is this year taking part in the force’s professional action learning set which aims to develop talented Black, Asian and minority ethnic officers and staff who have the potential to excel. We are really proud of PC Halepota and congratulate him on becoming a workplace hero in this year’s Ethnicity Awards.”
PC Halepota said previously: “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 has partnered with 33 police forces across England and Wales to recruit and train police constables and trainee detective constables on their two-year programmes. Its 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.
The Ethnicity Awards ceremony was held on Friday 12th November at the Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London.
Other people recognised at the awards include Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, TV presenter and former professional footballer Alex Scott, presenter and journalists Naga Munchetty, online influencer and comedian Munya Chawawa, and model, actress, singer and businesswoman Naomi Campbell.