Facing up to Racism

Being a Response and Patrol Officer from an Ethnic Background

By PC Khurram Masood

My Background:

I was born in a working class family of Lahore, Pakistan.

PC Masood in uniform

My father worked hard to provide me with a good education that helped me in my journey.

In 2001, I left Pakistan to study in Cyprus – this is where I had my first encounter with racism.

I faced abuse for being a person with a dark skin as they called me ‘Mavro’ in Greek, instead of addressing me with my name.

In 2003, I move to UK. It’s was a breath of fresh air. I felt acceptance and tolerance from society. I worked in different places until; in 2012, I joined The National Archives as a security officer. I really enjoyed my role there, so I decided to take my career further in same direction by joining HM Prison services as a Prison officer in 2014. I learned that I was the first Muslim prison officer of HMP Isle of Wight.
After working in a multi-agency environment, I felt that I could use my skills and experiences to serve my community as a police officer.

In 2017, I joined Hampshire Constabulary as a Police officer. I have personally never experience any prejudice within my force. I have always been treated with respect and fairness. I had a fantastic start of my career and had some opportunities to represent my force in many international and national events. We also have professional standard department to deal with all internal complaints and disciplinary issues. I am also part of BEAM support group that also raises and addresses any issues involving officers from ethnic backgrounds.

Operational Policing:

As we all know, our profession is one of the toughest in the world especially if you are on the front line. This role can become more challenging and stressful if you are from an ethnic background. We do not only deal with seasoned criminals but also their hostility and hatred for our religion and race.

Police officers are subject to abuse very often and if one is from a different background then you will have an enhanced experience with an addition of racial and religious abuse too.

One likes to think we live in a very diverse society but even in 2022, we still have to face racism very often while performing our duties.

We face and challenge the evil of racism that our society pretends does not exist. I am sure we all face some sort of discrimination and hatred because that is the nature of our role but when someone is shouting extremely abusive and offensive racist comments in your face and you can see that hate in their eyes, then it’s a very different ball game. You still have to be professional and respectable in executing your duties.

Yes, we can further arrest, and on a good day, court might slap on their wrist, but no one knows how that makes us feel.

Some would say it’s part of our job, some might say we get paid to deal with these people and this is our duty but let me assure you it’s not part of our job bur a harsh reality that we have to accept.

I have been racially and religiously abused more than I could keep track of. I have been dealing with violent and serious offenders for the last 9 years, and trust me when I say that you can never get used to this abuse. No matter how thick your skin is, it affects you every time, it hurts you every time and makes you feel worthless every time.

How I deal with it:

I get asked this very often “How do you deal with this emotionally?”

I can only tell you how I deal with this, but this might not work for you.

I remind myself of the OATH I took on the day when I wore this uniform for the first time. I remind myself that I am doing it for our country; I remind myself that I am the chosen one to deal with this evil because I have strength and patience; I remind myself that I am a different breed of me… I am a Hampshire Constabulary Officer.

All these reminders then get stronger and stronger with the support of my colleagues and friends. I am part of Portsmouth Response and Patrol unit. Post incident, every one of my team member comforts me personally and reassures me that I am one of them and show their love with small gestures that makes a huge difference.

I get emails from across the force. DCID go an extra mile to support and fight my corner if that goes to CPS. BEAM support group and the Police Federation check on my welfare. My district commander and even chief drop an email or a call to check on me.

How to support:

Being on the receiving end of this abuse is a very isolate place. I used to question my existence, my decisions in life and choice of profession. The victim left feeling embarrassed and started to think that he or she is a liability for his colleagues. In situation like this, my team restores my sense of belonging. All I need in that moment is for someone to tell me that I am part of the team and very important to them. Healing speeds up with small gestures, a hug or just a stroke on one’s shoulder with the words:

“You ok mate?”

I humbly request you all, if you have anyone on team being subjected to racial abuse, do not hesitate to show your affection and that you care. Please do not assume that just because someone is putting up a brave face means all is well. The person might be broken inside and desperate for your support.

In the end, all the love and support from colleagues and friends fades away the scars of hate and racism and helps one heal, to go back out with my head high to protect the people from crime and evil. Your kind words, texts and emails are very important and work miracles for your colleague to recover and perform even better.

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2 thoughts on “Facing up to Racism

  1. Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences. The support from within your team is paramount. Hampshire should be honored to hold you in post.

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