“You can still have an impact and make a difference even if you’re not patrolling the streets.”

Ava Ottaway works as a Resource Planner – a vital department responsible for ensuring the force has the correct number of officers on duty at any one time, as well as planning staffing for a range of policing operations and events across the city and counties requiring a police presence.

For Ava this includes staffing football matches and planning the force’s response to enforcement activity.

She joined Leicestershire Police in 2011 as a Data Entry Clerk for the Stop Search Department after her time at university prematurely ended due to ill health.

Ava has a congenital heart condition (present at birth) called Pulmonary Atresia, where the pulmonary valve located on the right side of the heart is blocked, preventing the flow of blood to the lungs. At just two weeks old, Ava underwent open-heart surgery and was the first generation to be given a metal valve.

Her condition means there are days where a simple drive to work can be exhausting, but the force is supportive of her condition, allowing flexible hours.

She said: “My condition has never held me back during my time at Leicestershire Police. In fact, I have been given a number of opportunities to progress, such as attachment days in other departments across the force.”

Ava’s advice for anyone thinking about applying for a role within the police is: “Although I wasn’t able to complete my university degree, I have been given so many other opportunities within the force where you can still make a difference.

“Having a condition doesn’t have to hold you back and I’m already thinking about my future and how I can progress within the force.”