PCSO Aarifah Lala
Tell me a little about your journey to becoming a PCSO?
I had initially started learning about the police at school, in Wales, during my AS & A Levels where I studied public services. I had a brilliant teacher who was extremely encouraging. From this, I applied to study Criminal Investigation with Policing Studies in Investigative Management at De Montfort University Leicester. Throughout my degree, my family were extremely supportive and it is only because of this support that I graduated with a First Class Honours degree. From my degree, I made some great contacts within Leicestershire Police – one being Sergeant Yusuf Nagdi who supported me throughout the application process.
I started training as a Special Constable during my time at university but due to Covid-19, this training was postponed. Whilst on my course, I had started an application to become a Police Constable but unfortunately, I had failed my assessment centre by just 1%. As I came so close, I was offered the role of a Police Community Support Officer, which I accepted, and I’ve never looked back. The experience that I have gained as a PCSO will be invaluable to my policing career as PCSOs provide the crucial link between communities and regular police officers. It was always my intention to reapply to become a Police Constable and I have been successful in my second application towards this. I am due to begin my officer training in 2021.
What made you want to join the police, in particular Leicestershire Police?
Leicestershire stood out to me because of how diverse the city is. As an example, Narborough Road in Leicester has been considered the most diverse road in the United Kingdom. This level of diversity stood out to me as I am half Indian and half English. I think it is important to understand not only your own family’s religions and cultures, but those of others as well. Acquiring this knowledge is the reality of every day policing.
What would you describe as being the positive aspects to your job?
This job allows me to meet people from all walks of life. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know people and this is the perfect job for it. I have learnt so much within such a short amount of time and I look forward to spending my career within the police service.
It is easy to talk about the positives of policing, such as helping members of the public, however it is important to remind those who are considering applying that this role does involve conflict and this is something you should be prepared for.
What would you say are the main skills you need to work as a PCSO?
Communication is the most important aspect of being a PCSO. You will need to communicate with members of the public, as well as your colleagues. Not only is communication extremely important, but being friendly and approachable is as well. It is important to work collaboratively because in a policing environment it is crucial to work effectively as a team to produce the best outcome.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to break into this career?
You will be walking, climbing stairs and occasionally running as a PCSO. The amount you do overall will typically be based on where you are stationed and what incidents you attend. You never know when you may need your strength and stamina so having a good level of health, both mental and physical, will make being a PCSO that much easier.
Being a PCSO has been extremely eye-opening. Within a few weeks of being an ‘in-company’ officer, I have been to a wide variety of incidents and have even assisted in the removal of over 1,500 cannabis plants from a premises in Leicester city centre.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you see me out and about, please feel free to come and have a chat!
To learn more about how you can become a PCSO please visit our careers pages.