Wednesday 7 September 2016
Saima Saleem, who is in her early 40s, was a full time mother to three daughters until she became a special constable in August 2014. Now Saima is undertaking a BA Policing degree at the University of Northampton, and is set to graduate in 2018.
Alongside her full time degree studies, Saima carries out a minimum of four hours a week of voluntary policing work. She said: “Before joining Northamptonshire Police, I had never worked. I had no work experience as I had always been a house wife. Facing an interview was a really big obstacle for me as I had no idea what to expect or what kind of example I could give to them.”
Mature student Saima is a great role-model for people who are scared of trying something new. She commented: “After failing my first interview [with the Police], I wasn’t disheartened at all – instead I was even more enthusiastic after the support I received. I failed my fitness test because I am that person who always parks the car nearest to the lifts! But I tried again and with the help of gym instructors and coaching from officers I finally passed.”
“As a special constable, every single day is different. What I like most in my role is that I get to help people and keep them satisfied with my work. And by helping them feel safe with us around.”
Saima’s 22-year-old daughter Nayhaa is also a special constable. She says: “My encouragement to become a special constable came from my mum. Watching her get ready for her shifts, feeling so excited and coming back home so pleased with herself when she helped someone or when she stopped a crime taking place, it really inspired me. Her passion and love for the job made me want to be a part of the force as well.”
“Some people have no trust in the police and that’s what I want to change. I want to treat the public respectfully so we get the same respect back.”
As a Muslim female officer, Nayhaa says it is more than just a job: “For me, being a Muslim officer means a lot. Firstly, because I want to change people’s views on Muslims, I want to show that we are a part of this community as much as they are and what we are doing is for this community. You can be a Muslim and a police officer at the same time!
The younger member of the Saleem family is 17-year-old police cadet Narmeen. She joined after being encouraged by her special constable mum: “As my mum was in the police, I was encouraged to apply for the cadets as it would help me with my future career. I first joined when I was 16. I’m now waiting for my 18th birthday so I can apply to become a special.
Sophia Perveen, chair of the Northampton Muslim Police Association, helped support the family in the recruitment process, she said: “As a former police officer myself, I know how challenging it can be to undertake such an important role.
“Not only are you an ambassador for the force but as a Muslim woman, there are many hats that you have to wear. The Saleem family offer their time voluntarily to help make our communities safer.”
To find out more about the University of Northampton’s Policing degree, visit the course pages. Northamptonshire Police are taking applications of their Special Constabulary. To find out more, visit their Special Constabulary website.