Find out how PCSO Ahmed Mohamed is making a difference
Role: Police Community Support Officer
Length of Service: 4 ½ years
Tell us about your previous career
I have been in the UK for just over five years now. I was brought up and lived in Egypt, where I spent 16 years working as a diving instructor in the Red Sea. I worked for travel companies, providing diving lessons for tourists but also, because of my expertise, worked in search, rescue and recovery operations. As I have European family connections I was able to relocate on a residency visa and now have indefinite leave to remain here.
What transferable skills do you feel you brought to the role of PCSO?
When I started looking for a job I knew I wanted to do something working in and around people – when I saw the advert for PCSO it seemed to fit. Working for international tour operators gave me the ability to communicate, as strong customer service skills were essential, l and I worked with people from all over the world of different ages and ethnicities. Through my search and rescue work I was first aide trained and had to be calm under pressure, as we sometimes had to deal with distressing situations. I also speak fluent Arabic which has been really useful in my current role. Fundamentally helping people is a big part of who I am.
How have you been able to use your language skills and understanding of other cultures?
Oxford has a growing number of people from minority communities, including refugees and asylum seekers and Kurdish, Syrian and Sudanese, to Iraqi and Filipino populations. My language skills have been invaluable in connecting with those from other communities who I work with following my own experience. I appreciate the police in other countries operate differently, so people have misconceptions and distrust when they come here – I can help break down those misconceptions and ensure they are aware of the differences in approach.
I have worked hand in hand with the council and other agencies and charities to make sure they understand their new community, giving talks and presentations to educate them on UK laws and regulations – as an Arabic speaker I can make it easier for them to understand, it really makes a difference. My role is very much about building trust within the communities, reassurance, providing advice and problem solving.
One of the initiatives we set up for example was a youth club, as many of the refugees are 14-20 years of age and have the potential to be influenced by the wrong people, by working with our neighbourhood teams and educating them on personal safety we reduce problems and issues. Just seeing me in uniform, speaking their language can make a difference – they see that there are possibilities.
You have recently been named as TVP’s Diversity Champion for our Community Policing Awards 2020 – congratulations!
Thank you. Yes, this was completely unexpected but I am really thrilled to be receiving this recognition for the important work we have been doing, it encourages me to do even more.
What other opportunities have you been able to take advantage of at TVP?
There are lots of opportunity in TVP to progress and get involved if you want to develop yourself; when I became a PCSO I joined SAME our Staff Association for Multi-Ethnic staff and for the last two years I have been part of the Executive Team that runs it. I enjoy being part of a proactive team of people supporting those who join from our minority communities; we provide help and advice across a range of subjects and issues including personal development and welfare. I feel proud that I can help influence the work we do in this area – you don’t need a high rank or long service to help encourage positive change and have a voice at TVP.