Over 50 years of BME officers in the West Midlands

Last year we celebrated 50 years of black and ethnic minority officers in the West Midlands. In 1966, two huge milestones were reached - the first Asian officer in the country was recruited in Coventry City Police (Mohammed Yusuf Daar) and the first black officer was appointed in Birmingham - Ralph Ramadhar.

PC Mohammed Yusuf Daar

Jo (as he was known to his colleagues) had previously been an inspector in the Tanganyika police force. After moving to England he saw the Chief Constable of Coventry Police on the television talking about how 'coloured' people would soon be joining the police. The next day he walked into Little Park Street police station and joined up.

He remained with the force for two years but then decided it wasn't for him and left.

During his time with the force he received letters of support from all over the world - including one from Mauritius that was simply addressed to PC Daar - England. The Metropolitan Police forwarded it on to him whilst he was undertaking his training in Ryton!

He in turn offered support to other BME members of the police, including the first black officer to join the Birmingham City Police - Ralph Ramadhar.

Originally from Trinidad, Ralph also joined up in 1966 but unlike Mo, he experienced racism at the hands of the National Socialist Movement, who advised him to think again about his career.

Sgt Ralph Ramadhar

Ralph was not deterred and went on to become the first black sergeant in the country in 1970, a role which he excelled in. Mo recalls writing to Ralph and the two officers meeting up for a curry in Digbeth to share their experiences.

Ralph remained with the Birmingham force after its amalgamation into West Midlands Police and eventually left in 1977 to return to Trinidad. He said he felt great optimism about the future of young black people in the city and the police service becoming a more diverse place.

SC Herman Lokey

Sadly Ralph passed away in 1987.