In our policing feature, we hear from some of the officers on your local teams.

This week we hear from PC Tara Duffy, who is with the Met's South East Command Unit:

What were you doing before you joined the Met?

I was working in a pub and I think it actually helped prepare me for the police! I was 18 years old and sometimes ended up dealing with groups of much older men who had had too much to drink and were having a fight. Working in that environment taught me how to communicate with people in tricky situations that got the best response, and that skill is so important for an officer.

Tell us about your job

I’m the Hate Crime coordinator and Faith liaison, so my job is reaching out to different communities, working with them, and building trust. It can be hard because some people may have an idea of what you will be like or think that you can’t help them with certain issues. I try to help everyone know that we are here for them.

Describe a stand out moment for you

That’s so hard, I can’t pick one. I remember on one occasion, a faith group were preparing for a big celebration. I was asking them about the response they got when they were celebrating and they told me some people called them some awful racist slurs – but they told me it was ok, they just brushed it off.

To me, it’s so sad that people think that is normal – it’s not normal, it’s not ok, and I want them to come forward and tell us so we can investigate.

Meet your local Met Police team: PC Iain Thomson

Another, happier moment I remember is that members of a Hindu temple offered to give me a blessing to celebrate a happy occasion in my life. That was so nice of them to offer me that, it was lovely.

What do you think the community thinks about police?

I think they might think we don’t have time – people apologise about reporting things they think are small, but we all know the small things can mean so much. I want them to know there are dedicated ward officers who have the time to help them.

Meet your local Met Police team: PC Fern Hockney

Another thing is that I think people forget we are just like anyone else; we wonder when we’re going to fit in the food shop or suddenly remember that we’ve forgotten to send a birthday card!

What would you say to anyone who might want to join the police?

There are so many opportunities and you might have one idea for your career and end up doing something completely different. I remember turning up for ward patrol when I was on Safer Neighbourhoods, and they needed someone to go to Wales for the NATO conference.

I went home, packed a bag, and within 30 minutes I was heading off to help police an event that Barack Obama attended. At the snap of your fingers, you end up doing something you wouldn’t have dreamed of doing five minutes beforehand.