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Diverse Met Police officers share incredible personal stories in campaign to recruit more constables

News   •   Jul 07, 2021 00:01 BST

Police Constable Richard Gayle

Serving Met police officers from a range of diverse backgrounds and circumstances are sharing their personal stories in an effort to encourage more Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage people to join the Met as a police constable or a detective.

From Wednesday, 7 July, a Black and gay police officer and a senior detective, who is also a working mother, are amongst a number of officers who will tell the public that ‘Now More Than Ever’ is the time to join the Met Police.

By sharing their personal stories – in their own words – these officers and this campaign will aim to inspire others, particularly those from Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage communities, and women, to consider an exciting and rewarding career policing London as a uniformed constable or a detective.

Each story is a celebration of the diversity in the Met and illustrates just how the Met is changing to reflect London.

This campaign is the latest in recruitment efforts which follow bold steps announced by the Met earlier this year to improve further the trust and confidence of communities – particularly Black communities – and the recruitment aspirations announced by the Commissioner Cressida Dick, that Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage officers will make up 40% of all new officers recruited from April 2022.

Research conducted by the Met ahead of the campaign found that the fear of disapproval from family and friends, worry of perceived prejudice within the force; and for women in particular, the perception that policing is an inflexible job for mums, were just some of the reasons cited by women and potential applicants from Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage communities for not applying to join.

At the heart of the campaign is the recognition of these challenges but also the stories of the real life role models already thriving in the Met.

Police Constable Richard Gayle wants to inspire other young Black Londoners to join the Met.

He said: “I believe that you can’t be what you can’t see. I hope to inspire young Black people to join the Met.

“Being a Black, gay police officer hasn’t always been easy, but across the Met the right conversations are being had by the right people and equality is getting the attention it deserves.”

Detective Chief Inspector Heather Pilkington, a busy mother-of-one, is keeping the public safe from the threat of terrorism.

She said: “Now, more than ever, being a police officer is about choosing your own path and realising your potential. When I joined the Met 20 years ago, my friends and family doubted if a woman could make it as an officer. It made me question myself but through my own determination and the Met's support, I was able to prove them wrong and forge a career path for myself, and pave the way for other female officers.”

PC Gayle and DCI Pilkington are among more than 5,000 Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage Met officers currently keeping the public and London safe as police officers – 450 of whom joined in the last financial year.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tara McGovern, Head of Recruitment for the Met and also Chair of the Met’s Network of Women, said: “The Met is one of the largest employers in London and with a broad range of roles, from neighbourhoods to firearms.

“We are already an exceptionally attractive employer, with more than 2,400 people joining us in the last financial year alone. We know that in a city like London, reflecting the communities we serve will only make us stronger and better at keeping people safe.

“Our recruitment efforts are also part of the bold steps we are taking to improve the trust and confidence in all communities – particularly Black communities.

“I know there are many more people who want to make a difference, to help people and begin a career in a brilliant organisation, performing an exciting and extremely rewarding role.

“To those people – today – I say, now more than ever is the time to join the Met.”

Find out how to start your career in the Met at

Notes to editors:

  • In the past 10-years, the number of Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage officers in the Met has increased by 65%, from 3,091 in March 2011 to 5,086 in March 2021 - all thanks to thousands of people who acted on their desire to help others in the ways only a police officer can.

  • Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, 2,438 people joined the Met as officers. Of these, 2,229 were new to policing.

  • 39.7% (884) of these brand new officers are women, of which 16.7% (148) are Black, Asian or Multiple Ethnic Heritage
  • As of 31 March 2021, women accounted for 28.5% of all police officers in the organisation – a total of 9,265, including the newest 884 female recruits.
  • 14.1% (1,310) of these female officers are Black, Asian or Multiple Ethnic Heritage and account for 25.8% of all Black, Asian or Multiple Ethnic Heritage officers in the Met

  • More than half of all Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage officers in England and Wales work for the Met Police

  • 20.1% (449) of all recruits new to policing between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 were Black, Asian or Multiple Ethnic Heritage.

More detail on some of the Now More Than Ever campaign’s ambassadors

DC Usha Evans

DC Usha Evans, a British-born Indian, is proud of her heritage and Hindu faith. She decided to join the Met Police after she had some disappointing experiences with them as a youngster. In her own words, she “wanted to see what it was about” and felt “the only way to make a change is to be part of the change.”

DC Usha has worked in central London for 14 years, responding to 999 calls, helping victims of domestic violence and tackling serious crime.

She says policing is not a traditional career choice for Indian women and her decision became a talking point in the community at the time but men and women alike have “massively” welcomed having a police officer who they know will understand them on a cultural level. Every day she is helping build bridges between the police and her community.

DC Evans was recently appointed chair of the Met’s Hindu Staff Association, a role in which she is inspiring and supporting Hindu officers and staff across the Met.

Find out more about DC Evans’ story here:

PC Richard Gayle

PC Gayle is a Black, gay officer currently keeping London safe by working in the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command. He has been a police officer for six and a half years, and started out in Lewisham where he worked on the neighbourhoods and response teams.

His father and great uncle - both police officers - inspired PC Gayle to join the Met. He feels that many young Black people who don’t have police officer relatives would not consider a career in policing, so he hopes to inspire them. He says, “I believe if everyone had visible role models like my father and great uncle growing up, a career in policing would be more of an aspiration.”

PC Gayle has overcome criticism from people in both the Black and LGBT+ communities in order to pursue his dream to help save lives, and he hasn’t looked back.

He is part of the Met’s LGBT+ Network and was one of a number of members who attended Number 10 in 2019 at the then-Prime Minister’s invitation, to be recognised for the staff association’s contribution to LGBT+ equality.

PS Keeley Tye

PS Tye joined the Met in 2004 when she was 21. Her parents wanted her to complete her education before making her final career choice, so she did – and promptly applied to join the Met!

From a young age, PS Tye wanted to help stop violent crime affecting Black communities and was inspired by the work of Operation Trident, now known as the Trident Gangs Unit – a team she later joined as an officer.

Her desire to help communities has been re-enforced by the tragic loss of young Black lives in London, particularly the murder of Damilola Taylor four years before she joined, and the murder of Eugene Attram in Wandsworth – an investigation in which she was involved.

Today PS Tye is a mum and at the forefront of the Met’s fight against violent crime as a sergeant on the pan-London Violent Crime Taskforce.

PS Tye says her mixed heritage has really helped her to keep people safe, as it emboldens her to have what are sometimes “awkward” but important conversations with diverse communities. She says she feels really passionately about the idea of community and that “we need to bring that back to London”, which she is doing as a police officer.

DCI Heather Pilkington

DCI Pilkington has many identities: woman, graduate, proud mum of one, mentor and police officer.

She realised she wanted to join the police age 10, when she was “mesmerised” by a female police officer who talked to her class at school.

DCI Pilkington’s parents didn’t think the police force was a place for a woman and worried about her safety, but after DCI Pilkington graduated from university she pursued her dream and proved everyone wrong.

Today she’s inspiring and supporting other female police officers as a mentor within the Met’s Network of Women – a staff support association – and mentors Black, Asian and Multiple Ethnic Heritage colleagues as they work toward promotion. All while fighting terrorism nationally from within Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters.

Being a woman and a mum hasn’t held DCI Pilkington back. She says, “I got a lot of support when going for promotion, while pregnant! I returned to work when my baby was only five months old and ‘the Job’ gave me the flexibility I needed to be a mum and a police officer.”