Behind the Badge: from Zambia to the Met Police

Have you ever wondered who the people are behind the uniforms and the badge in the London Metropolitan Police?

Wondered what motivated them to join the force? Or what their friends and family think of their profession?

Here, one officer tells his story.

From Zambia to the British army to working in south west London for the Metropolitan Police, Pele Kaunda has had a remarkable career path.

Yet his motivations for joining the Met are even more so.

Leaving Zambia in 2008, Kaunda joined the British army, travelling the world and helping people in need during periods of conflict and peace.

However, after leaving the armed forces, he still felt he had more to give.

Kaunda then joined the prison service, working hard to rehabilitate prisoners and helping to change their lives, and yet he still felt he could give more to his community.

Kaunda said: “As far back as I can remember, I have always found happiness by seeing other people happy and generally enjoyed looking out for others and being there for them in times of need.”

And so, he found himself in the police force.

BEHIND THE BADGE: Kaunda on duty with the Metropolitan Police

Kaunda explained that he wanted to help change lives before they made wrong decisions.

He wanted to share his story with those who felt they had few options in life, and to be living proof that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

However, Kaunda’s friends and family weren’t initially thrilled about his new career choice.

Many had negative feelings towards the police, stemming from what they had seen or heard in the media from around the world.

Kaunda added: “They also felt that being black and Zambian, I had no chance in joining the Met.”

However, he managed to change their perspective by following his dream and discussing his work with them openly.

He said: “My friends and family are now always asking me about the police and my wife probably now knows more about policing than your average probationer.”

Kaunda’s current role is working on drug-related crimes, to which most violent offences in London are related.

Previously, he was an Emergency Response Officer, attending any emergency calls.

One day, this could be dealing with violent crime, and the next it could be having a cup of tea with an elderly victim who has no friends or family.

Kaunda explained that even though he is in uniform, he speaks to and treats people as if he were not wearing it.

He explained: “Behind every uniform is a unique officer. You don’t have to be robotic, you just have to be yourself. You are representing the community and you have to be the community.

“At the end of the day regardless of the role, I go home knowing I have made a positive difference directly or indirectly to someone’s life.  For me there is no greater fulfilment.”

Kaunda works for the South West Basic Command Unit, which covers Kingston, Richmond, Merton and Wandsworth.

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