Like father like son, grandson, great grandson...

The origins of policing in the McWalter family stretch back at least 140 years, in an incredible family tradition of serving the community. Five consecutive generations of fathers have served as police officers in this dedicated family. Whilst serving Temporary Sergeant Adam McWalter was never pressurised by his family to join, several generations of McWalters have left a tough act to follow!

Uniformed Adam McWalter along with his father, grandfather and uncle - all former policemen
Adam (in uniform) along with (from left to right) his dad, grandfather and uncle

Adam’s Great Great Great Grandad Richard McWalter, born in Ireland, is recorded as a police constable on the 1881 census in Flintshire, Wales, living at the ‘police office’ (likely a small sub-station with accommodation for the officer and his family) in Llanasa with his wife Bridget and their six children. By the 1891 census the family has grown and there are now eight children at a different address, including 9-year-old John William, who would carry the policing mantle into the next generation.

Chief Inspector McWalter sitting at his desk
Chief Inspector John William McWalter

John William McWalter moved to Birmingham and joined the Birmingham City Police in 1903. He rose through the ranks to chief inspector, spending much of his service as the head of the force’s training school at Digbeth Police Station, before retiring after 39 years’ service in 1942. John was very highly thought of, particularly by Birmingham Chief Constable Cecil Charles Hudson Moriarty, who sought his views on an early draft of Moriarty’s Police Law, which went on to be re-published in 24 editions – right the way into the 1980s!

John’s sons Joseph William and John Grant also both joined the Birmingham City Police, John serving from 1932 to 1964 and Joseph from 1938 to 1968. But it doesn’t stop there! Joseph’s two sons Stephen Grant and John Michael also joined their local police, John serving with Birmingham and then West Midlands Police and Stephen with West Midlands Police. History then repeats itself again, with John Michael’s sons John Andrew and Ian Mark also serving with West Midlands Police. John Andrew was a detective in the Vehicle Crime Team and completed 30 years’ service in 2011 and Ian was cadet before becoming a regular, spent some time as a detective sergeant, before transferring to what is now the National Crime Agency and retiring in 2013.

The below pics show: top tow - Joseph McWalter (left), John Michael McWalter (middle) and John Michael McWalter during Operation Julie in the 1970s (right) and bottom row - Stephen Grant in the Operational Support Unit (far left) and John Andrew McWalter with brother Ian McWalter

The final element of the McWalter clan carrying the policing mantle, is Adam McWalter – who joined West Midlands Police as a PCSO and then joined as a regular officer in 2017. Now working in a temporary sergeant role in a Neighbourhood Team, Adam said:

"The last 4 and half years have been a great challenge and at times, a steep learning curve, but one I've really relished. Having experienced various policing departments in that time, I've really enjoyed working on neighbourhood teams, especially in some of the inner city neighbourhoods such as Lozells and Handsworth. You can make a real difference in the lives of those living and working in the community by sometimes, the smallest of actions.

I've now returned to where I started as a PCSO back in Aston & Newtown on the neighbourhood team as Temporary Sergeant and it's been great to return and see some old faces in the community, make some new connections and be able to help the community in a different capacity.

In terms of my own personal aspirations, I've got some big shoes to fill from previous generations. I'm just going to take it one step at a time. I'm really enjoying the role of Sergeant at the moment. Who knows what the future holds?"