Ukrainian woman joins Notts Police to repay local communities for taking in fleeing families
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A Ukrainian woman has become a PCSO to “give something back” after the UK came to the aid of her war-torn homeland.
Anastasiia Orlova, who has lived in England for six years, said she wanted to repay the country for providing refuge for over 170,000 Ukrainians.
The 29-year-old said the invasion of Ukraine had left her fearing for her family – but that they and other Ukrainians had found refuge with a number of sponsor families in Nottinghamshire as part of the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Keen to repay their kindness, the mum-of-one successfully applied to become a PCSO with Nottinghamshire Police so that she can give back to the local community.
“When the invasion began, the first city that was bombed was my home city of Kharkiv,” she said. “It was really hard – my family was over there and I was here. I was worried about how they would get out, it was so stressful.
“I went to one village and spoke to one lady. I said, ‘look, I’ve got a lot of family – I need English sponsors’. She introduced me to the whole street and people were saying ‘we can help, tell us what we need to do’.
“I was so grateful. They even helped me secure visas so we could get my family from Poland, where they’d fled to, to England. They were all just so incredible.
“A lot of Ukrainians have come to Nottinghamshire and I really want to repay people’s kindness.”
Anastasiia said the UK Government’s response to the conflict had also prompted her to join the police service.
“The Government does a lot to help Ukraine,” she said. “That’s my country, my people – it made me want to do something in return.
“I’d always thought about joining the police and the Government’s help spurred me to apply. I felt it was my duty to give something back and what better way to do that than to help protect communities in England.”
Anastasiia is among 13 new PCSOs who have recently completed an eight-week training programme at Nottinghamshire Police’s headquarters, in Arnold.
On Friday (8 September), they had an audience with Chief Constable Kate Meynell who encouraged them to serve with “pride, compassion and integrity”.
Anastasiia will now join the City South neighbourhood policing team, where she will engage with the local community, build relationships and help tackle issues of concern.
“I can’t wait to get started,” she said. “I’ll miss the training school because it’s been such a nice environment to be in and everyone here’s so friendly, but I can’t wait to get out there and get to know the community in and around Clifton.”
She will be joined at Clifton by fellow cohort member PCSO Nicole Pavier, who worked in catering at Nottinghamshire Police before deciding to take up a new challenge with the force.
The 30-year-old said:
“When I first started working within police headquarters, I felt a sense of family. Within a couple of months of being here, it felt like I was part of that family.
“From that point, it was set in stone for me that this is where I wanted to be.
“I decided to apply to be a PCSO because I like helping people. I like engaging with people of all walks of life and backgrounds.
“The training’s been really good but I’m looking forward to getting out there now and putting what we’ve learnt into practice.”
Nottinghamshire Police now has 159 PCSOs stationed in neighbourhoods across the county.
Publicly facing, they provide a visible, accessible and approachable uniformed presence in the community to offer reassurance, defuse situations with threats of conflict, improve confidence and trust, gather information and foster good community relations.
Chief Constable Kate Meynell said:
“I am delighted to welcome these 13 new PCSOs into our ranks.
“They each bring with them a variety of skills and will work with us to deliver the best possible service to our communities.
“Policing is all about public service and duty, and these officers will play an integral part in keeping residents across Nottinghamshire safe.
“I wish them all the best as they play an important role in fighting crime, protecting vulnerable people and ensure our communities feel safe and listened to.”