Cambridgeshire Police Federation workplace representative Sergeant Mark Rabel admits juggling his day job with members’ needs can be a challenge but enjoys providing support in times of crisis.
Mark became a Fed rep in 2020 when he felt the lack of diversity within the Federation was starting to have an impact on colleagues and has since undertaken courses on conduct and equality.
He said: “I am of Asian heritage and there were no people of colour in Cambridgeshire Police Federation.
“Some of our officers had started seeking help outside our Federation for support. I wanted to help.
“I can bring life experience of being from a minority ethnic background into my role within the Federation and I enjoy giving back to colleagues support and help in their times of need and making sure that they are treated fairly and properly.”
Mark acknowledged being a Fed rep could be very demanding on time and diary commitments and said it was often a challenge to balance the requirements of his day job with the needs of members.
But he said those who required the assistance of the Federation usually did so in a time of crisis and so tended to need its support right there and then.
He added: “I am still operational and have a good understanding of pressures faced by our members.
“Setting a realistic expectation and getting a positive result for the member is the most rewarding aspect of the role.”
Mark said the Police Federation on a national level should strive to remain credible and have a meaningful impact in terms of pay and conditions and locally, called for reps to be given sufficient time and support to fulfil their roles.
He joined the Force in 2001 and reflecting on his decision to follow a career in policing, he admitted: “I wanted to catch crooks and lock them up. I was probably inspired by the TV show The Bill!”
Mark has held a variety of roles from response policing, Force control room, custody sergeant and some specialised neighbourhood posts. He is now a partnerships and prevention sergeant
He warned the police service nationally had to tackle the ongoing challenge of providing sufficient resources to service ever-increasing and constantly-changing demand.
And he has some sound advice for new officers just joining the Force.
“Have fun, learn as much as you can and don’t be too narrowly focussed in what you want to achieve,” he said.
“If you make a mistake don’t worry – but speak to someone as soon as possible and get your money’s worth from the Police Federation!”