Ayrshire’s Chief Superintendent remembers blowing out candles on his birthday cake and wishing to join the police.

When Faroque Hussain left school in Clydebank at 16, it was to work for the family business, running the cash-and-carry.

But there was something missing, something about giving back to the society in which his family had been very successful.

In 1999, at 21-years-old, he decided to apply to the police.

His parents were not keen.

He said: “My father is a first-generation immigrant. He lived through partition. His experience of the police service in Pakistan was different to what we had in Scotland.”

Likewise, his mother’s exposure was to the corrupt police departments of her home country of Brazil.

“They wanted reassurances, they hadn’t had any contact with the police. They were nervous,” he said.

The Macpherson Report had just been published, a bombshell dossier detailing institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police.

Part of the inquiry into the botched investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, it heavily criticised British Police forces and reports in the media worried the Hussains.

At that time, applicants underwent three interviews, two at police offices and another in their own home.

He recalls his father telling the interviewers: “I know you’re coming to my house, but you need to persuade us why our son should join the police.”

Cumnock Chronicle: CS Faroque Hussain in his uniform now exhibited at the 'GlaswegAsians' exhibition in The Scotland Street School Museum.CS Faroque Hussain in his uniform now exhibited at the 'GlaswegAsians' exhibition in The Scotland Street School Museum.

As the young Faroque rose through the ranks, his parents’ feelings of concern became immense pride.

Now he is the first person of colour in Scottish policing history to have gone from a bobby on the beat to the rank of Chief Superintendent.

Although he is keen to emphasise that his identity is not just the colour of his skin, he knows the importance of his position.

“It’s not lost on me. When I joined in 1999, I didn’t see anyone of colour,” he said.

Last month, as protests swept across the USA following the killing of George Floyd during an arrest by police in Minneapolis, CS Hussain and fellow senior officers stepped outside their headquarters and took to one knee in solidarity against racism.

“Racism is something I have experienced in various guises.

“I have that lived experience and I understand the pain that racism has caused to individuals,” he said, “It was really important for me as an individual to relate to that.”

The message, that Ayrshire is a place open to anyone to live, work, invest in and visit, is one that CS Hussain holds dear.

From his first deployment in Glasgow’s Govan to working in covert operations tackling major organised crime, his description of his work suggests an empathy for the communities he and fellow officers are employed to protect.

He said: “You’re dealing with individuals suffering really traumatic events, victims of horrendous crimes.

“We’ve got an important role to support victims and families.

“Treating people they way you would like your own family to be treated.

“Regardless of whether that individual is a victim of a crime or not.

“These individuals didn’t blow out birthday candles and wish for a life of crime.”

42-years-old could be regarded as young to reach the ‘pinnacle’ of your career.

But CS Hussain has found himself at the other end of the country and across the world doing police work.

Following the 7/7 bombings, he travelled to London to volunteer as part of the British Transport Police’s reassurance operation.

The day after the attacks, Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man was shot dead by Met officers after being mistaken as a fugitive.

“I am fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, and I was raised by my Muslim father.

“It gave me an insight at a time when people had heightened sensitivities. I felt I had some skills I could take down.”

This was just one of his experiences of a different kind of policing which exposed him to new ideas about the relationship between the police and the public.

He has held roles as a chief investigator, a tactical firearms commander, head of analysis, performance and demand, and has been seconded to the National Crime Agency.

From 2016 to 2018 he served in the Ayrshire as a superintendent.

He said this made returning as chief easier but also a privilege.

As a resident, with a family of four, he has a personal interest in insuring the job is done well.

When asked how he would feel if one of his children wanted to join the force he said he would not put them off.

“If it’s scary, if I was scared, then I’d think I was doing something wrong in terms of being the divisional commander,” he said.