20th Sep, 2020

Black History Month Special: A Day in the Life of...Sergeant Bushra Zarif

As part of Black History Month members of West Midlands Police Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA) share their personal career journeys.

Not only is award-winning 46-year-old Sergeant Bushra Zarif one of the longest serving Muslim female officers in the West Midlands – but she has her hands full as a busy mum-of-six.

Previously, Bushra worked in Solihull, arriving on promotion in November 2016, where she was based in the south for six months before moving over to Chelmsley Wood.

She was neighbourhood policing sergeant for the Smithswood team, coverering Castle Bromwich, Kingshurst and Smithswood, until February this year.

This is Sergeant Zarif, in her own words…

My day starts with… getting six children ready and off to three different schools, before making my way into work. My husband works as a chief inspector in Birmingham East and tends to leave before me, leaving me to do the school run and prepare the packed lunches.

I’m responsible for… the University of Birmingham campus (UOB). The UOB has always had an officer on campus, but, it has recently funded two full time PCSOs and I am responsible for this small team. Our role is to promote student safety and prevent crime on the campus.

I joined up… in 1992. I have 27 years police service. I am a qualified detective and was promoted to sergeant in 2016.

I have worked…all over the West Midlands, including Solihull. I have worked in the CID where I was responsible for investigating serious crime and on a robbery team. My fondest memories are from when I was in uniform in Willenhall, Walsall. I enjoyed rushing around with the blue lights on and frontline policing.

I always wanted to…join the police, it was a childhood ambition, having been inspired by programmes such as The Bill and Cagney and Lacey.

I finished my A levels and joined the police aged 19. It was my first and only job. I am one of the longest serving Muslim female officers in the West Midlands. When I first joined the police, I faced discrimination based on my race and gender, but I’m pleased to say the organisation has moved on from those days.

In terms of juggling family and work life, it’s hard work, but I am super organised and a minimalist, which means that things generally run smoothly.

Any mottos? My old English teacher Mrs Golden told me to never put off tomorrow what you can do today.

My typical day… there is no such thing as a typical day in the police. My current role involves being visible on the campus site. I love being a sergeant as you are in a position to influence and lead how your team delivers policing.

My most memorable moment… my husband and I recently went to the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace. We had a really lovely day. He was invited to attend by the Chief Constable Dave Thompson in way of recognition for his work with Street Watch – I was just his plus one!

We managed to see the Queen and HRH Harry, as well as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. We video-called the children from the Palace to make them feel included.

The worst part of the job… seeing the impact of violence. I have seen at first hand the damage caused by drink driving, having attended the scene of a fatal road traffic collision.

The best part of the job… it’s a privilege to wear the uniform and be the ‘go to person’ when people are at their time of need. As a young officer, having only been in the role for 12 months, I helped to disarm a man with a gun, for which I received a Chief Constables’ Award for bravery.

If I didn’t do this… I’d probably be a midwife as I love babies – hence why I had six of my own!

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