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Over 50 years of BME officers in the West Midlands

August 23, 2017

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.

 

 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.

 

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.

 

Sadly Ralph passed away in 1987.

 

Another key milestone was reached in 1968 when Herman Lokey became the first immigrant and first black special constable in Birmingham City Police.

 

Herman aspired to be a member of an 'active and useful organisation' and swore to do his best to uphold the fine traditions of the service.

 

It wasn't until 1974 that the West Midlands recruited it's first female BME officer. In that year, Pauline Campbell joined the newly formed West Midlands Police.

 

In an interview with The Voice in 2015, Pauline explains that she had wanted to become a police officer ever since she was a child, partly due to her initials being PC! 

 

She joined at just 17 years of age and experienced quite of bit of negativity from the public including separate incidents where she was threatened on a bus and bundled into a car (which she managed to escape from). However she views her experience with the police positively. Pauline left after three years to work for social services, where she felt she could better help troubled youths. She now lives in New York with her husband.

 

 

 

 

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