As part of our Police Community Support Officer 20-year celebrations and Black History Month, we caught up with Prem, a PCSO based in Cardiff, who told us all about her career journey at South Wales Police.
Prem started working for SWP as a cleaner in our Cardiff Bay Station five years before applying to become a PCSO.
“I started my cleaning role in custody in Cardiff Bay Station and then I moved to cleaning the offices. On one of my shifts, I was talking to my colleague about the volunteer work I do with St Johns Ambulance as I have volunteered there for 16 years. The Community Safety Manager at Cardiff Bay, Rhys, overheard me and told me that I should consider becoming a PCSO,” Prem tells us.
“At first, I didn’t even know what a PCSO was, I had heard of PCs but never a PCSO, but then he explained the role to me and how a lot of the work they do involves community engagement. I have always been very active in my community, volunteering with St Johns and teaching religious scriptures to 5–7-year-olds in a local temple every Friday for the last 20 years.”
When asked about the career change, Prem shared her varied and interesting career path that had led her to applying for the role of a PCSO.
“I did a four-year course in college for hairdressing and worked as a hairdresser for a while. I then had spinal fusion surgery and after that really struggled to find work. Then the cleaning job came up and I thought a job is a job, now I’m a PCSO in the same organisation.
“In the beginning I thought it could be too much. I left school 30 years ago so when I first started, I didn’t know if I could do it, but then I got into the routine. I’m really enjoying it now.
“The Positive Action Team have been really supportive and encouraging throughout. I failed my first fitness test but on my second attempt the trainer was really nice; he was encouraging and motivating, and I passed.
“My tutors are great- they are always supporting me. Sometimes I struggle with writing and spelling – the thoughts are in my head, but I struggle to write them down. My tutors have been extremely supportive and have sat down one to one with me to go through everything. They have said if I don’t understand, I can ask them. I have felt supported throughout the process and am really enjoying being a PCSO.”
Congratulations to Prem and her cohort who celebrated becoming PCSOs in their passing out ceremony last week.
Good luck with your careers and (for those who are brand new to the organisation!) welcome to Team SWP.