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“Growing up I have always honoured the police. I see it as giving back and being of service to the community. As a , ‘sewa’ which is of being of service to others, is a big thing for me, and so these were the main driving forces behind why I wanted to join the police,” shares Brinder Deol, an award-winning Police Constable with the Metropolitan Police in London.
Inspired by her own spiritual journey and self-realisations, Deol set up the SHINE wellbeing project in 2018, offering police officers and staff the tools and techniques to build greater mental resilience through the use of holistic approaches.
“Working in the police is amazing, but we do witness things that the public wouldn’t witness. From my own personal challenges and to that which I faced in my job, I went through the process of looking after my own wellbeing. It was almost like healing myself from certain things,” she tells ‘iGlobal’.
As Deol sought counselling herself within the police force, she began looking into holistic approaches such as meditation and mindfulness.
She explains: “At the time, I didn’t know I was heading into this personal development journey. After five years of having this wealth of knowledge, I wanted to offer it to my colleagues.
“One of the first workshops I put together before setting up SHINE was ‘Breaking the taboo between policing and mindfulness’, as there is a lot of stigma in the police about mental health.”
Over 100 police officers and staff attended, participating in meditation and reciting mantras. This then led to more holistic-based workshops and eventually the creation of SHINE, which is run by a team of officers and the project is continuing to grow due to a huge demand for its services.
“Two years later, we now have 2,000 police officers and staff who are members. We hold weekly classes, meditation, twice a week and monthly workshops and most recently hosted a huge virtual webinar with the Dalai Lama,” says PC Doel.
“What’s amazing is that there's this huge hunger for it in the police and in our recent wellbeing survey, 75 per cent of officers said that SHINE has made a real difference to their world,” she adds.
Shortly after she started SHINE, PC Deol went into hospital for brain surgery. She highlighted the importance of SHINE by using the practices and techniques she learnt through the project to cope with the terrifying ordeal. The doctors were amazed at how quickly she healed, from not being able to talk after surgery to returning to work within three months.
In November 2020, she was honoured with a Special Recognition Award at the annual Met Excellence Awards.
“Last year was pretty tough, as I was diagnosed with a rare brain condition which required brain surgery. I had lost the ability to talk, write and read and had to learn everything from scratch,” shares PC Deol.
“To have undergone brain surgery and then to be awarded was amazing. We have over 55,000 people in the Met who are all so talented and the three other nominees were really strong, they are people who have gone through hardships and done amazing things at the Met.”
The humble police officer said she didn’t think she would win and says she feels deeply touched by the award and everybody’s love and support since. Her proud mother has been sharing the news far and wide with family, in the UK and Canada.
From a very young age, Deol always knew she wanted to become a . With just over 13 years in the Met Police, she feels she is living her life’s purpose in giving back to the community in a way that she feel contributes to making the world a more harmonious place while standing up for justice simultaneously.
Since joining the UK’s largest police force in 2007, Deol has traversed an eventful career path. It began at first as a police staff working in several departments, then becoming a special constable and eventually a police constable – a move she made after the then Mayor of London and now Prime Minister of the UK, , announced the recruitment of 1,000 new police officers.
She has held her rank of Police Constable for eight years, and shares: "I currently work in the transformation directorate, so any new changes which come into the Metropolitan Police are through my department.”
Alongside her responsibilities and duty as a PC, Deol is also part of the Metropolitan Police Sikh association. For other young British Sikh girls who may be considering a similar career, Deol’s advice is simple: “Follow your dreams. If you have always had a desire to join the police, want to give back, and not just represent your community but the wider community, then I would say get involved.”