CI Manjit Atwal
When Manjit Atwal decided to join Leicestershire Police at the age of 32, she had no idea it would lead her all the way to Chief Inspector – her current role.
In fact, she had no plan, other than being a police officer was an ambition she had always manifested. With two young children, a four year-old and a seven-year-old, “I felt like it was my time and there was something I needed to satisfy within myself,” she said.
“My children are the most important thing in my life and they’ve been on this 24 year journey with me. They’re extremely proud of how far I’ve come, as are the rest of my family.”
With accolades including Student Officer of the Year, Beat Bobby of the Year, Asian Community Person of the Year to name a few, there is plenty to be proud of.
“It sounds like a cliché but policing was something I’d always wanted to do from a young age growing up in Derbyshire. I’d seen a female Asian officer working in the city centre and I thought ‘I’d like to do that,’ but I didn’t have the confidence at 18 to join.”
Having children and being older with more life experiences under her belt, however, changed all that and since signing up she has never looked back.
In her time at the force, Manjit has worked as a local beat officer, youth offending officer, rape crisis officer, numerous roles as a sergeant, and inspector. She has spent time in the Force Intelligence Bureau, where she assisted in setting up a safeguarding intelligence function, Regional Counter Terrorism Team and is a trained hostage crisis negotiator. Manjit also mentors and coaches other officers to be the best they can be as well as those that wish to join the Police.
“I’ve dealt with what some might perceive to be dangerous situations - aggressive offenders with weapons. I once helped save a man’s life by administering first aid and being the first at the scene.”
In a strange twist of fate, he thanked her later when their paths crossed during an arrest of some youths he knew.
“He turned up in the role of appropriate adult and recognised me and told the suspects to tell the truth as I was a ‘decent human being.’ They later confessed to 32 car thefts.”
Manjit says she can count on one hand the number of times she has had to raise her baton or use other forceful means to turn a situation around.
“I’ve always enjoyed talking to people and building rapport with communities I’ve worked in has been key to what I do.
“I think being a good listener is another vital skill – that and being genuine, whether it’s a victim, offender or work colleague you’re dealing with. I’ve always wanted to make a difference to people’s lives and officers do that every single day. But none of us work alone – we’re part of one big team and I love that.
“I’ve supported events attended by the Queen and other Royal family members. I’ve met numerous sports stars and some famous Indian Actors, I have supported national events such as the G8 summit in Gleneagles.
“This isn’t a job for those who want the same thing every day but if you’re looking for something different that offers lots of professional development opportunities should you want them, then it could be right up your street.”
In short, she has a wealth of experience from across the force and in her latest role is part of the Serious Harm Reduction Unit covering everything from county lines drug dealing and knife crime to modern day slavery.
As if that wasn’t enough, she is also chair of the Sikh Police Association.