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Officer and staff stories - DI Amakai Kefas

Category: testimonial, black history month, BAME Inclusion, Staff Testimonial, BAME Diversity, BAME Network, black, black women, Bame recruitment, The Metropolitan Police

BAME

 DI Amakai Kefas

Although Detective Inspector Amakai Kefas has always had an interest in criminal behaviour, she had never considered a career in the Met. While studying Law and Criminology at London Metropolitan University, she was so moved by the empowering stories of female officers that she came across during her studies, that she decided to pursue a career in policing.

Over the past 15 years in service Amakai has continued to develop her skills as an officer, moving up the ranks, while staying true to herself.

Why did you join the Met?

I have always been fascinated by the police, I just had no intention of joining! I had told myself that it was no place for someone like me. My preconceptions were that that the MPS would be a hostile environment for a female and a black person. I always wanted to understand why people committed crime and how societies deal with them, so I went to university and studied law and criminology. I wrote my dissertation on Women in Policing because I was interested to find out what coping strategies they employed working in male dominated environments. I had the incredible privilege of interviewing female officers working across London. They collectively had over 150 years of service between them. I heard stories of courage, overcoming challenges, stories that made me laugh, and stories that made me burn with indignation. I was inspired by these women breaking barriers, moving through the ranks as well as joining specialist areas, and the fact they found these roles immensely rewarding.

A year later I arrived at Hendon for my day 1. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. I realised that the only way to truly understand crime, the factors that cause people to commit crime and aid victims to tell their story, was to become a police officer.  Therefore, I joined the police.

Did you face any difficulties when you started?

Joining the police was a terrible disappointment for my first generation African migrant parents who wanted me to follow one of the only three professions desired by most Nigerian parents as sign of achievement - lawyer, accountant or a doctor. I also wonder if there was something about the women I interviewed, and listening to their stories that left a lasting impression on me, perhaps it was because they knew that their presence made a difference.

Is the job what you expected?

Joining the police is one of the best decisions I have made, there have been challenges, but I have learnt some important personal lessons along the way. Over the years, and through various experiences, I created a version of an officer that I thought I ought to be, rather than work to shape the officer I wanted to be. I have learnt to use negative experiences to become more proficient in my day to day work.  At times I find myself being the ‘only’ female or person of colour in the room, however I’ve come to realise that even just being the “only” one is immensely valuable. I try to use my influence to inspire others and make my career a statement of possibility to under-represented groups in Policing.  And now that I’m here I want to continue to make a difference to the different communities we serve.

What would be your top tip for success, and your greatest achievement to date?

The story of success often has failure interwoven in it, when you fall, be gracious and kind to yourself, learn some lessons and get back up again. I am proud of my achievements thus far, particularly becoming a Fulbright scholar.  I have always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I think that would be a great achievement, hopefully in 2021!

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Full disclosure here, I don’t think I have ever considered this question until this moment. This year has been challenging for us all,  somewhat more pronounced for Black and Asian communities who are disproportionately affected by Covid-19, and the recent social unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd have caused me to reflect on why we celebrate Black History month amongst other things. For me Black History Month is a time to deepen our understanding of ourselves and each other.  I will be creating safe spaces for meaningful dialogue at work this month.  It is also a time to widen our knowledge of Black contribution to British history. 

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