Meet PC Hadi Yousef
Length of Service: 3 years
Hadi, you have a very international upbringing, tell us how you came to the UK.
I was born and raised in Bahrain in the Middle-East and lived there my entire life pretty much; my mum is from Cornwall and my dad is Bahraini, so I have dual citizenship. Growing up I attended an international school with over 7500 students, which allowed me to learn many languages and dialects, so I feel very comfortable in a multicultural society and at ease speaking with many kinds of communities. As a child, I used to come over to the UK for holidays but nothing other than that, until I decided to try to become an air traffic controller. On my 18th birthday, I decided to move to the UK to try to fulfil my dream.
So how did you end up joining policing?
I did not make it all the way through ATC recruitment; due to my young age, they advised me to join a stressful job like the army or the police. I decided to join the police and would never turn back. I wanted to use my languages but did not feel I wanted to live in the hustle and bustle of London; this is why I chose Thames Valley Police. I had the option to choose any force anywhere in the country but chose TVP and more particularly Reading LPA as it gives me the urban-rural balance I wanted.
How did you find the recruitment process to join the police?
The process was easy, most of it was online but it did take a while 6 to 9 months. All the support was there, any time I had any questions I could get in touch with the recruitment team who were really helpful. I worried that my young age would be a barrier. Was I too young? I have always been told I am an old head on young shoulders. They look at everyone as an individual and if you meet the requirements, you will succeed.
How was basic training?
When I eventually got my place to at TVP’s Training Centre in Sulhamstead I found it tough. I was the only person in my cohort from a multi-ethnic background. When I came out of the training and joined Reading the team were extremely accommodating and supportive. They accepted me and within a couple of weeks, you literally feel part of the family.
How did your family and friends react when you decided to join policing?
A lot of family and friends from overseas chose to drop contact with me for what I can only assume is because of my new job, ultimately its times like these you get to realise the true friends from the fake ones. My other half worries about me, particularly when I go on a night shifts, but she’s gotten used to it and she knows I’m capable of looking after myself and if for ever reason I am not my team will look out for me and have my back. Relationships are forged between not just you and your colleagues, but your other half and them too.
How’s your experience as an Officer been so far?
I have been doing this job for 3 years now and I love it. As a response officer most of your time you’re out and about, speaking to different people and managing different situations. The variety and adrenalin can be addictive, each day is different and you don’t know what it will bring. There are also days when you will be dealing with prisoners in custody, so there is some balance amongst the manic. Any screen time you have is spent doing case files and paperwork. You have to adapt yourself to situations; the job requires you to be objective, sometimes emotionless with a hard protective shell. However, there are moments when you put that hard shell aside and let your emptions kick in, particularly when you have to deal with incidents involving unexpected child deaths or when you have to speak with families to relay a death message. During one incident, the person I gave heart-breaking news to really appreciated my support and I received a thank you message, which meant a lot to me because it’s not every day that we are thanked for our work.
What is the reality of shift work on response?
Our standard shift pattern is six days – two earlies two lates, two nights then off for four. Personally speaking, I have a love/hate relationship with night shifts. I don’t look forward to them because I find it really difficult to sleep before the shift. On your days off it can feel really difficult to revert back to usual sleep patterns. That said when I do work a night shift, I love it. It’s a very weird feeling seeing a very busy town quiet at 4am in the morning. The type of crime that you deal with is different, during day shifts it might be more road traffic accidents, shopliftings or domestics, whilst at night, it might be more burglaries or drug related offences. You get to use the different powers at your disposal such as stop search and checking out vehicles.
How proactive are you as a response officer, or is it always reactive?
I prefer to be out and about, and I’m really into traffic laws. The more you are out and about, the more paperwork you need to do. They go hand in hand.
Response wise you will always be sent where you are needed, whether you have just made a cup of tea, you’re going. That’s the nature of incident response – you cannot pick and choose what jobs you want to take. The best part of my job for me is the proactive side – I’d love to be able to do proactive jobs all the time.
Crimes are always happening, particularly with traffic offences, so you need to know how to identify offences but appreciate the paperwork then required to process that offence.
How is your difference making a difference?
I speak several languages and dialects in Arabic, that would cover any language from Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Afghanistan. I speak a bit of Filipino, Indonesian, GCSE level French, a bit of Hindi, Urdu, and English of course. My language skills allow me to engage better with our communities. I have been able to help my colleagues when they need support with translations, officers at scenes call me on the radio and I translate on their behalf. I’ve even had requests from detectives from CID departments to transcribe certain pictures and documents. I am really glad that my knowledge and skills allow me to build relationships with our communities and help my colleagues with their investigative work.
What would you say to someone considering joining the police?
Go for it! Especially if you feel like a 9 to 5 or desk job job isn’t for you right now. Policing is such an exciting, varied job. However, you have to look at both sides of policing, the positives and the negatives. Do not underestimate the paperwork. Do not underestimate the stress. Do not underestimate the things you will see and do just be prepared for the impossible because once you join it, that’s it. Time flies. It’s not an easy career, but it is rewarding and there are so many opportunities to consider as you develop and grow.
Thames Valley Police (TVP) is actively looking for people to be the difference they want to see in their communities, as we re-open Police Officer recruitment. To find out more about a policing career with TVP – including the realities of working on response, initial training, and to register your interest to become a Police Officer please visit our Police Officer page.