Zen Mohamad Kassim, the senior community engagement officer for the WA Police Force, spoke to North Lake students on Thursday about police careers, especially for people of multicultural backgrounds.
“I think communication is the most important thing for police officers,” Zen said. “You must be able to speak English clearly and to understand what people are saying. That means understanding police jargon and Aussie slang. Watching the TV news and listening to the radio are good ways to find out what’s going on and pick up the language.”
She believes police work is about helping people – even those who have broken the law. “As a police officer you work with people every day and you can help people with difficulties in their lives,” Zen said, “You can’t be narrow-minded, you must be fair, address people with respect and have passion and compassion.”
Students considering a police career should gather as much information as they can by attending information sessions, visiting the police website and even going to police stations. “Attending information sessions for police or the army or nursing or any other career will help you decide for yourself what you want to do so that you can make a positive impact on people in your life.
“At a police information session, like the ones we have at our academy in Joondalup, you can find out the processes you need to go through and what you need to work on,” Zen said. “For example there is a physical requirement to being a police officer and a driving requirement – if you are applying to join the police you need to know about these things.”
Being eligible to join the police and making an application does not mean you will be accepted. “You may not be successful first time,” Zen said, “but if you are close you will be given things to work on and improve.”
Zen said working with the WA Police Force was particularly rewarding for someone who has come to Australia as a migrant or refugee: “This country has given me the opportunity to work, for my children to learn and for my husband to work,” she said. “It is a beautiful country and we can give back by helping the community. Your story as a migrant or a refugee might be just what the police need one day.”
For more information on police recruiting go to…
• Zen also suggested finding the documentary Behind the Blue Line on SBS On Demand. (It will give you a look at real police work… and it shows that Zen is also a movie star!)