A newly qualified police officer who was tasked with strengthening relationships with multi-faith groups in Epping Forest district has been praised for her efforts.

PC Anokhi Chouhan, 23, of Loughton’s Community Policing Team, has met with various faith leaders since passing out in October 2019.

By coming together, they can look at ways they can all communicate about issues such as community, safety and engagement.

Her task has the support of Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, District Commander for Brentwood and Epping Forest.

Ms Chouhan, said: “I have always had an interest in faith and religion, and I’ve enjoyed looking at ways we can help multi-faith groups in the district.

“By reaching out to multi-faith groups in the district, it will allow me to understand the concerns and issues affecting those communities while providing an opportunity to inform them of the work we are doing to keep them safe.

“My grandparents came to the UK as Indian immigrants before setting up home in Ilford and my family is Hindu by religion.

“I wanted to bring my experiences in that role to policing and I applied to become a full-time officer with Essex Police with the aim of making a difference to everyday lives.

“I’m pleased to say that my family has been very supportive of this decision and they are just as excited as I am about my future in policing.”

Ms Anokhi has been working alongside Reverend Lee Batson, of St John’s Church in Epping, to help establish the best ways for faith groups, schools and voluntary groups can work and talk together.

She will also be meeting with Dr Mohammed Fahim, the Muslim Chaplain for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Head Imam of South Woodford Mosque, to talk about his experiences and the impact of policing in east London communities.

Reverend Batson said: “I am part of the Chaplaincy Team for Essex Police and attend Loughton police station every week to be a source of support for officers.

“I met Chief Inspector Basford to talk about the advantages of using faith-based organisations to engage with the community.

“I then met Anokhi and it was fantastic to meet such a passionate and committed individual and I know her work will help provide reassurance and will help people feel safe.

“I believe that there is a strong relationship between faith groups and Essex Police.

“We all know our local officers and the police know that we may have information that will help them do their job even more effectively, so the work Anokhi is involved in can only be positive.”

Anokhi has helped patrol the Diwali Festival in Loughton back in November 2019 and was invited to speak at Chigwell Mandir for International Women’s Day.

Chief Inspector Basford said: “We’ve always worked closely with multi-faith groups in the district and Anokhi’s engagements will only strengthen those relationships.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that she can bring and we have come together to come up with a number of ideas that I feel would make a real difference.”

Essex Police are actively recruiting police officers like Anokhi and welcome those from all backgrounds and faiths.

To sign up and become a member of Essex Police, click here.