#HumansofWMP: Hate Crime Awareness Week, Simona Zetu, PCSO
As part of National Hate Crime Week we are sharing PCSO Simona Zetu’s story.
Simona was born and raised in Romania and came to England to make a better life for herself and her family. She is now pioneering a campaign to raise awareness around Romanian communities.
“I was born in Romania to a working class family during the communist regime.
“I always dreamed of working for the police but at that time there was a height restriction and I am only just over 5ft.
“My first job when I came to England was in Surrey as a receptionist before I moved to Birmingham with my mom and children to become an NHS interpreter.
“I had a second job in public services as a freelance Romanian and Italian Interpreter – there were days when I used 14 buses to attend all the appointments booked for the day, but I was really determined to build up a life here.
“I then saw a job advert on Facebook from West Midlands Police recruiting Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and suddenly my childhood dream was awoken.
“I remember thinking that I won’t have any chance of getting this job but I would at least apply and try my best. I did get the job and joined the most wonderful team I could have wished for.
“My colleagues were open in saying that they did not know much about Romanians before but I was impressed with the interest they showed in learning more about my culture and my country.
“Last year I helped to create a survey about Romanian integration in the UK. The findings made grim reading, with more than 50 per cent having experienced hate crime, but none having reported it. I think people feel that nothing will be done.
“I have started a project to raise awareness that hate crime is not acceptable and to increase knowledge about my community. Even if just one person finds it useful or rethinks their bias that would be a great achievement for me.
“There is good and bad in any community and I feel it is unfair to label most good, hard working and honest people, for the very few that choose to break the law and show disrespect to the country that welcomed them.
“I live in a wonderful country now and serve the British public with respect and devotion. I am part of a great family at West Midland Police."