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Hi Nikhita. Can you tell us a little bit about how long you’ve been with us as a police officer?
I joined in March 2021 and started an intense six months of training before passing out at our ceremony in September.
Since then, I’ve been under tutorship. This basically means I’ve been on shift as a trainee officer in the west of Gwent, responding to calls under the supervision of an experienced constable.
This tutorship lasts for about three months – mine finished this month, and I’ve just been signed off as an independent patrol officer.
It’s been a great experience and I already feel part of a dedicated, driven team here in Gwent.
Having studied for a degree in law in Aberystwyth in the past, I’m complementing this in my police training by studying for a diploma in policing.
You’ve briefly mentioned university there. Can you tell us more about what brought you to Gwent Police in the first place?
Despite knowing I didn’t want to go down the solicitor route after graduating, I wasn’t 100% sure what my career path would look like. I was interested in law and helping people, but I can’t say – as a lot of officers I’ve met can – that I’ve always wanted to be an officer.
I had friends who worked for Gwent Police in the force control room, however, and heard they were looking for Welsh speakers to join as control room operators.
Being interested in law, helping people and having the experience of doing my degree in Welsh, this really interested me.
So, while in my final year in university, I applied for a role in the control room, was successful and loved my time there before beginning as a trainee PC earlier this year.
How important is it to you that you’re able to speak Welsh?
I love the fact I can speak Welsh and can provide a little extra support for my colleagues.
In the control room, for example, I could help those who called in in Welsh and provide the service they wanted and needed.
It’s vital we provide that option for Welsh speakers across Gwent.
As an officer, where in Gwent are you based and what do you think you’ll bring to the role?
I used to go to school in Pontypool and love the fact I’m now back in the area working for the community.
I think this is very important: I feel like I’ve got a good understanding of local concerns and can provide support that positively impacts people in the area.
As a control room operator, I was on the other end of the radio, talking to residents and dispatching officers to calls, so I did have a good knowledge of local concerns, the type of crimes committed and how we respond in order to protect and reassure people.
The most important thing is putting victims first and protecting people from crime, and I think I’ve got a good foundation in that.
So, if you didn’t always want to be an officer, what persuaded you to apply?
I think it’s due to my experiences in the control room, taking calls where I felt I genuinely had a positive role to play in making sure the caller was safe.
I’ve had calls where people were thanking me afterwards, saying things like they wished I was the officer knocking on the door to provide an update . . . as they appreciated the support I’d given.
And I started thinking: I really wish I could be that officer following up to give that continued support. It got to the point where I wanted to do more and be the one responding in person.
And now I’m here.
I guess all the different avenues you can go down in policing motivated me as well. I’ll be on response for two years now, but there are so many things you can do in policing. Whether that be in specialist roles in neighbourhood policing or in traffic, or through the training you receive throughout your career.
What about applying for the role? How did you find the recruitment process?
The first part of the application feels much like any other job application – giving details around your past experiences, your education, etc.
You then get invited for situational judgement tests, where I suppose my experience in the control room really helped, and then a behavioural assessment after that (if you pass).
The results for this come through right away, after which you get invited to an online assessment involving a virtual interview and a writing and briefing exercise.
If you’re successful at this stage you get invited to a final interview, where you meet members of the Gwent Police team.
You’re then vetted and go through several fitness, medical and biometric tests before being told your start date.
It’s a really challenging and rewarding process, one that gives you a good glimpse of things to come in training school.
How did you find the training and what surprised you the most?
I loved the situational tests – the role-playing lessons – as that was as close to being out there as an officer as you could possibly get.
After every topic, like traffic or public order for example, the assessors would follow that up with a practical where you needed to apply everything you’d previously learned.
What surprised me the most? This may sound surprising, as I was going into policing with a law degree, but the amount of legislation you learn as a trainee officer is amazing and a lot to take in.
What would you say to people thinking of applying in the future?
It’s an amazing experience and I love the job.
I would say research is really important, however, as you do take on a lot when you go through training.
Visit Gwent Police’s website and the College of Policing website to have a look at what the role entails and what the force is looking for.
It is a long process but try to enjoy the whole thing and soak in as much as can, because what you take in during this process will inform the type of officer you’ll be in the future.