Special constable Eli Tan came to Birmingham from China eight years ago to finish her university studies and instantly fell in love with the city.
After her course finished she decided she wanted to learn more about the UK, the people and the culture.
She went on to study for an MSc in Global Meetings and Events Management at University College Birmingham and graduated in 2016. Since then, the 29-year-old has been happily living here and has made the city her home.
Now she’s proud to be a part of Birmingham’s Chinese community, helping to bridge the gap between Chinese people and the police, and she’s excited that she’s getting the chance to be a part of the Commonwealth Games which come to Birmingham next year.
Growing up in China, Eli had always wanted to join the Army so when she arrived in the UK, she looked at the recruitment requirements for the British Army. Unfortunately, having a Chinese passport meant she wasn’t eligible. However, she’d done voluntary work before and decided a career with the Special Constabulary would be just as rewarding.
She began her training on 10 July and says it is the one of the best decisions she’s made.
“As I studied at Uni, I’d noticed there were hardly any Chinese police officers around the city centre,” she said.
“As the UK’s second biggest city, Birmingham attracts a lot of overseas students and Chinese immigrants and this surprised me. I signed up to become a Special as I’m really keen to bridge the gap between the Chinese community and the police.
“I’d love to be a voice for both communities. I’ve enjoyed everything about it so far. I believe the best bit about becoming a Special will be engaging with the public, representing the police and representing Chinese people. It’ll provide me with some amazing opportunities and bring a whole new world to me.
“There’s an old Chinese saying; ‘Even a three-year-old child can teach you something. You’re never too old to learn and you’ll learn as you live’. I believe this.”
Eli says that another great thing about being a Special is the chance to be a part of the Commonwealth Games. She played a bit of sport as a youngster and was in the school sprint team, heading for a career as a professional athlete until she had to undergo an operation on her nose when was 12. One of her proudest moments was meeting and looking after Team China and, arguably, the best Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian and his coach Randy Huntington when they were in Birmingham for the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
She said she’d recommend the Special Constabulary to anyone who wants a new challenge.
“You only live once! You’ll never find out how much you will gain from it until you’re part of it. The perks are unlimited; you learn new skills, get experiences that you might not otherwise have, make new friends, get to know new places and really make a difference to the community.
“I’ve got a day job – but being a Special is so rewarding and gives me the most job satisfaction.”
• We currently have exciting opportunities for Specials to join our team. If you’re interested in finding out more visit https://wmp.referrals.selectminds.com/latest-jobs