In Focus: Frontline officer talks ethics in police

Northumbria Police Sergeant Michelle Jahangiri offers her perspective on the Code of Ethics.

‚Äč"I have been an operational officer for 11 years, and the principles which are in the Code of Ethics are why I joined to become a police officer. The more time I spend in the police, the more I care and strive to improve and I feel that my colleagues feel the same."The Code of Ethics reflects the principles which are inherent in British policing. Integrity, honesty, openness, fairness and compassion towards individuals within the workforce and community you serve are what I do every day. It's a hard job and you can't do it without caring. I turn up to situations and my instinct is to help people.

"The Code of Ethics enshrines all of that and it's there as a set of principles for the public to see how we work and how we try to improve as a police service. We are the public and the public are the police.

"As a sergeant it's about setting those standards within the working environment so my team are treating each other with respect and compassion. That way, people feel empowered, motivated and developed. They want to come into work. In turn it is reflected in their dealings with the public.

"We are continually evolving because communities are changing and the world is changing. I am from a very diverse background and I can say we are a leading example to police forces across the world.

"As a member of the public, you should get a high level of service tailored to your individual needs and feel that you can trust the police. The Code of Ethics sets this out for everyone in policing and it will help us to make decisions when we are faced with ethical dilemmas, which is almost every day.

"The community side of policing is so important. For example, last Christmas I sent a single email around the office in Northumbria asking for wrapped presents to take to a hospital which looks after children with cancer. I got so many presents from officers and staff and we went there on Christmas Day with the presents. We attended in uniform, with a police officer dressed as Santa Claus, and handed the numerous presents out to the children. They absolutely loved it. Community policing makes such a difference and the hospital sent us a lovely letter thanking us.

"But the general public don't see that, they see the high profile cases in the media. There is so much more to policing and the Code of Ethics reflects that.

"The best feedback I've ever had was from an elderly victim of crime. I stayed with her from my very first interview and when the case went to court. Afterwards the lady came to the station and gave me a kiss on the cheek for everything I had done. I went home that evening and knew I did a good job.

"It's about creating an environment that people want to work with you.

"The Code of Ethics will become part of everything we do, and it's important that people know this is a positive thing that the public can recognise."

Next month's In Focus article will feature a member of police staff.

This article appears in the June 2014 edition of our newsletter - why not subscribe?

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