'As a black female leader, I use my position to empower and inspire others, particularly females, to challenge perceptions and break down barriers in terms of both their personal and professional development.'
Mavis is currently a Communities Supervisor in Swansea working on early intervention and prevention and school policing.
“I was born and raised in Wales to parents from Jamaica. I’m fiercely proud of my Caribbean heritage and believe that the culture, the food, and the music are very much a part of me and make me the person I am today. In acknowledging my Caribbean heritage, I’m equally proud to call myself Welsh.
“Growing up, I was very determined and knew from a young age that I wanted to join the police service. At the age of eighteen, and shortly after receiving my A-Level results, I became pregnant with my son. For a period, my plans changed but my desire to become a police officer never ceased.
“In 2003 my ambitions of joining the police service became a reality when I joined South Wales Police as a Station Enquiry Clerk in Port Talbot. In 2008, I achieved my long-term goal of becoming an officer and began my service with the response team in Bridgend.
“After six years on response, I felt confident in my abilities and studied for my Sergeant’s exam. I also joined the Representative Workforce Team (now known as the Positive Action Team) in 2016. As a result of my work within the Team I won a Force award for Diversity in Action and was nominated for a further award for Best Use of Social Media.
“I take pride and satisfaction from seeing people I’ve supported through the RWF programme now working in the force. It’s important to have people within the organisation who look like me, have the same backgrounds, beliefs and have had similar experiences. It’s also important that we continue to increase representation across all ranks and roles to motivate and inspire others to join.
“There have been many highlights during my 15-year career at South Wales Police, but one of the biggest was watching my son pass out as a police officer in 2017. Knowing that I’d inspired him to follow in my footsteps to join South Wales Police gives me an enormous sense of pride. He has since been promoted to Sergeant, meaning there are now two generations of Thompson’s who have become Sergeants at SWP.”
Mavis’ son Daniel has been in the force since 2017, following his mother’s footsteps to become a Sergeant in 2022.
“I had been debating whether to join South Wales Police for a number of years. I identify as B.A.M.E. (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) and in all honesty, in my younger years, I had felt a little hard done by in my experiences with police. I had always felt as though the police were not there to help me but were looking for a way to antagonise me.
“However, my mother achieved her childhood dream of joining the police in 2010 and from that moment constantly encouraged me to join and follow in her footsteps. It was her belief that if I wanted to see a change in the organisation, then I had to do something about it.
“From my past experiences, I was always hesitant about applying. It wasn’t until I was contacted by a member of the Representative Workforce Team (now Positive Action Team) that I reconsidered. They explained to me the steps that were proactively being taken by SWP to encourage diversity and make the service more reflective of the communities that are being policed. From a personal point of view, it resonated with me, because I always felt in my youth that I would have identified far better with a police officer that understood my background and my community.
“I have been constantly supported and challenged by my mother to be the best possible version of myself and also, the best possible officer. I was encouraged to undertake the sergeant’s exam and consider the promotion process in order to be an example for other B.A.M.E. colleagues and consider a long-term aspiration increase the level of representation at the highest ranks within the organisation.
“Having seen my mother gain promotion from Constable to Sergeant, I knew that it was not an easy process, but I had the right example and support to be successful, gaining promotion to the rank of sergeant in October 2022.
“I am hugely proud to now be part of a second generation of a black policing family and hope it encourages more of the same.
“As I progress, I hope to support more prospective officers and colleagues from diverse backgrounds in joining SWP with the same level of tenacity and following the example that has been set by my mother. Although the role of a police officer is more challenging and scrutinised than ever before, it is a hugely rewarding experience and the decision to join was one that I have never regretted.”