“SGS provided me with some of the best, memorable days of my life. I have also come away with friends for life.”
Tanya Raja, class of 2011, is a Metropolitan Police officer following successful completion of her law degree.
How do you feel SGS helped to shape the person you are today?
Being a student at SGS taught me many life lessons, the main one being that you have to work hard to get what you want and grades and achievements will not be handed out on a plate. Although I wasn’t the top of my class, I was distinctly average when it came to grades and tests but I am exactly where I want to be in life right now due to the hard work I put in at University and also in my job in the Metropolitan Police. It is safe to say that SGS gave me the foundations to get me where I am today.
What was your experience at SGS like?
SGS provided me with some of the best, memorable days of my life. I have also come away with friends for life, who I am regularly in contact with, despite all of us living in different parts of the country. The teaching staff brought out the best in me, especially as I struggled academically compared to my peers. I remember my old maths teacher, Mrs Beauchamp regularly staying late to help me with my maths, which shows the dedication of the teachers at SGS.
Were there any teachers who inspired you or made a particular impression on you?
Mrs Beauchamp, Miss Elias (I believe Mrs Griffiths now?) and Mr Green.
What did you do after SGS?
I did not achieve the A-Level results I wanted (or needed) but I managed to get into my first choice University, Nottingham Trent, to study LLB Law. I graduated with a 2.1 degree but I knew I did not want to become a solicitor or barrister. I made the decision that I wanted to become a Police Officer and I applied to become a Police Officer in the Metropolitan Police whilst in my third year of university. I did not know anyone in the Met, nor did I have any friends or family in London but I knew they were the biggest police force and it would be the best place to go to achieve my goals. Prior to joining, I managed to travel to various places, including Thailand, India and the Philippines. I started my job in October 2014 and I was stationed on Hammersmith and Fulham borough as a uniformed, neighbourhoods police officer. I then moved departments to a response team, responding to 999 calls. I then moved to the Department of Professional Standards, where I dealt with complaints made against the police and any Gross Misconduct matters that arose, including those from any ‘death or serious injury’ after police contact. I am currently on a ‘manhunt’ team, gathering intelligence and conducting arrest enquiries for wanted, high harm offenders.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been many highlights in my career so far. Every single day is different and although it is really cliche, it feels amazing to know that you have made a difference to someone’s life, whether that be helping them whilst they are most in need or returning property to them that was stolen during the course of a burglary! I have also been public order trained, dealing with large scale protests and demonstrations in Central London which was a fantastic experience.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow a similar path to you?
My advice would be to follow your dream no matter what. As an Asian female, I had many battles to face when I informed my wider family of my dreams of becoming a police officer but I do not regret a thing as it is a career I enjoy and a career I will be in for life. I have heard from friends and family that it is rare for someone to enjoy actually going into work, which I do! I would advise to become a Special Constable prior to joining and also look at the various entry routes that the police are introducing, including degree pathways and direct entry Detective scheme. The police provides so many opportunities and career pathways, from being a response officer, to a detective, to a dog handler to marine support unit!
What are your ambitions for the future?
I am currently studying to become a Police Sergeant and I plan to progress as high as I can during my career.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy going out, whether that be to the pub or to a restaurant. I also enjoy long walks with my dog!