Policing and Criminal Investigation graduate, PC Alex Bekker patrols the UK’s most expensive borough in the world’s second largest force. He joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 2015, where he works in Notting Hill Police Station, assigned to the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
“I’m a Russian national,” Alex explained, “so out of my three choices of where to work in the Met they assigned me to Kensington and Chelsea as there is significant Russian population.”
Twenty-three-year-old Alex has been in the UK for 10 years, after leaving the former soviet state of Kyrgyzstan in 2005. He lived in Shropshire with his family before moving to Stoke-on-Trent for higher education at Staffordshire University. “Staffs was far enough away from home but not too far that I couldn’t visit – the ideal location,” he said.
Alex started his degree in Policing and Criminal Investigation in 2010. “Policing is something I had wanted to do since I was 15,” he said. “A degree isn’t necessary to become a police officer but I wanted to go down the higher education pathway, to give me a good foundation of knowledge, and the course at Staffs was ideal.”
“The course was really good and the lecturers in particular did a great job. They have a lot of experience and knowledge – 150 years of experience in law enforcement between them – and they made it feel like you were really learning from that experience.”
Before graduating in 2013, Alex was already on the lookout for jobs and applied to join police forces throughout the country. “In that final two months before I graduated, I received really great support and guidance from the Staffs careers office, particularly Julia Crooks. I wish to highlight the support that is freely and readily available and highly recommend students visit the careers office for guidance.”
Joining the Met
Straight out of University, Alex took a civilian policing role in Exeter, as part of the child protection unit in the Devon and Cornwall Police Service. “Doing the degree really helped,” he said, “it helped me get the job.” In the two years in post, Alex worked on child protection plans, meeting with agencies, parents and children, and presenting policing information and reports to inform actions taken by social services.
During this time, he also applied to the Metropolitan Police Service, and was undergoing the year long application process, which involves screen tests, maths and English exams, as well as medical and physical checks. He joined the Met’s 30,000 strong police force in November 2015, after completing three months of training. “Going from Stoke to Exeter and then to London was a massive change,” he said. “There’s no routine in this job. We have a proactive approach. We do a lot of patrols in the borough – a lot of discrete plain clothes work – and social behaviour management.”
There is a two-year probation period in the Met and then Alex has his sights set on progression. “I’d like to take the trial for undercover work, maybe get back to child protection, do firearms training or work in close protection,” he explained. “After the probation period, you can apply to any department, anywhere in the country. The Met is renowned for its career opportunities.”