It was an assault outside a gay bar that inspired Ruislip's PC Pete Trueman to join the Metropolitan Police.

Apprehensive of reporting the incident, it was only after standing next to a police recruitment poster that he came to realise the only way he could help others was to become a police officer himself. 

He said: “When I saw that advert, I thought: there’ll be people that I meet who are going through exactly the same thing that I have and are in a similar position in that they don't want to come and talk to the police. 

“I thought to myself that I can’t help those people unless I’m in the police in the first place, to try and spread the message that it’s ok to come forward and talk about your experiences.”

Trueman had originally tried to apply to the Ambulance Service, but having not obtained the correct driving license, he figured the next logical step would be to join the police.

But in 2008 disappointment struck. Despite having made it through the application, the recruitment process was halted just a month later.

Undeterred by this setback, and still determined to fulfil his desire of helping those around him, Trueman trained to become a physics teacher.

After six years, he successfully reapplied to join the Metropolitan Police, and became a police constable in 2014 at the age of 30, working as a response officer in Hillingdon for around five years. 

Trueman said: “What I love about policing is that it’s never the same. There’s something for everybody and you can just find something different every single day – the job keeps you on your toes and helps you to learn.”

Now working as a hate crime coordinator and faith liaison officer, Trueman is responsible for engaging with the many communities of London.

On an average day, he’ll sift through hate crime reports from the previous day and refer victims to support services that are available under the Catch Partnership, which is a group of charities working together to end hate crime. 

He explained: “The main bulk of my job at the moment is doing engagement activities: trying to make people aware of what a hate crime actually is – instead of what they think it is – as well as the reasons to report and the ways to do so. 

“I’ve learnt so much from this role. As an LGBT member of the community, I’m always going to have more of an awareness around the area of hate crime, but I’ve learnt so much about other communities and other faiths, things that I didn’t have the greatest understanding of.”

For Trueman, there are many differences between his previous role as a response officer and his current position.

Speaking about the scenarios that he would be placed in when responding to emergencies, he said: “The adrenaline of being a response office is massive.

“You can literally go to a call with your heart pumping because you never know what you’re walking into.

“The main difference between the roles is that when working in a response team you’re often seeing people on their worst day, when something terrible has happened to them. They’ve phoned because they need you.

"Whereas, with my current role, I’ve often seen people in a more positive environment.”

According to Trueman there have also been marked changes within his role as a result of movements, such as Black Lives Matter, raising awareness of racial injustice. 

He said: “I started my position at the beginning of a lot of these movements. I think there’s been a change in terms of reporting incidents, as well as general conversations of what equality looks like in general society. 

“Movements like Black Lives Matter have highlighted issues in the UK and around the world, so that has helped people understand what racial hate crime actually is.”

But it isn’t just socio-political movements that have impacted his role, as COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the way in which he is able to engage with communities as part of raising awareness of hate crime. 

He said: “Everything just stopped. All engagement activities just disappeared during the first lockdown because no-one was allowed to leave their house. 

“However, there have been some positives from COVID. It moved us on quite quickly, and I know I wouldn’t be sitting here using Zoom or Microsoft Teams if it wasn’t for COVID. So in terms of moving forward, it shows that we have many different ways of communicating. 

“But overall the impact has been devastating. We’ve had losses, we’ve had people who have not been able to keep their jobs, which means engagement with third party sectors has been much more difficult.”

Hoping to still be with the police in ten years' time, PC Trueman said he was keen to stay in his current position. 

He said: “I love the role that I do, and currently that’s a police constable’s role, so promotion for me at the moment isn’t really something I’m thinking of.

“Eventually, I’d like to try and find the balance between being of a higher rank and still being involved in hate crime.”