Stepping forward to make a difference

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Gurpreet Singh becomes WA’s first Sikh police officer

Last month, Gurpreet (Gary) Singh fulfilled a cherished childhood dream.

He became a police officer.

Gurpreet Singh.Indian Link

At the graduation ceremony at the Police Academy in Joondalup, he stood out from the 55 newly commissioned police officers, the checkered ‘hat band’ resplendent around his blue pagdi (turban).

It was a proud moment for WA’s first Sikh police officer.

It all began when the Police Department’s slogan “Step forward and be the difference” caught Gary’s attention last year. He attended an information session, and was hooked.

“Looking back, putting in my application was the best thing I could have ever done,” Gary told Indian Link.

Today, he is the toast of his community, which is well-known for its valour, industriousness and perseverance.

A key focus for Western Australia Police is increasing cultural diversity in its ranks.

“WA Police has an inclusive approach and encourages diverse applicants to apply,” Nicole Ades, the Executive Manager of WA Police Recruitment Team, told Indian Link.  “Sure, our selection process is extremely competitive, but it’s worth preparing for and giving it a try.”

A lot of people fear the physical fitness component and don’t even apply, she revealed. The real challenge is to not give up after the first attempt, and to keep trying. Police Recruiting can provide advice to applicants to assist them in getting ready for the recruitment process. Information sessions are held on an on-going basis at the Police Academy in Joondalup.

As a 33-year-old, Gary realised that over the years he had lost track of his fitness levels and flexibility. It would be extremely tough to compete with the young applicants who had been training relentlessly for this. But his family and the Sikh community here would not give up on him. They were instrumental in boosting his confidence levels as Gary admits he was extremely nervous to start. He researched intensively about the entire WA Police Training program on their official website stepforward.wa.gov.au

Gurpreet Singh.Indian Link

“My mind was set on becoming a cop, and nothing could come in the way,” Gary recounted, revealing his positive personality and sheer doggedness.

He started training under a fitness instructor, balancing gym workouts with running and body weight training to crack the physical component. Not just that, there were a series of written tests and interviews to clear too. The details are all available on the official website.

“The tip is to be really honest with whatever you tell,” said Gary, proud of getting selected and graduating the intensive 28-week training program. There are different entry pathways here: Recruits, Police Auxiliary officers, officers returning  to WA police and more. Training varies according to the pathways.

A lot of people have the misconception that police officers lack work-life balance.

“In reality, it is my wife and my 4-year-old son that keep me going each day,” gleamed Gary.

Originally from Punjab, he came to Australia in 2005 and moved to Perth in 2008. Gary claims he’s found his true calling in this Big Blue WA Police family. There are strict policies here against racism or any forms of bullying. “I’ve never found myself standing out but rather we are always working as a team,” he said.

Officer Gary is now part of the booze bus team that conducts breath tests to nab drink drivers across the metropolitan areas.

There are promotional opportunities and good scope to move across to other areas and fields after completing the 18-month probationary period.

“I’m looking forward to each day for the high level of empowerment, achievement, commitment and adrenaline pump my career offers me. This is not an ordinary job for the weak-hearted, but if you want to make a difference to the community as a police officer, then cultural background and race is not at all a concern. I can definitely vouch for that!”