POLICE across the West Midlands are this week (May 10-16) celebrating the first ever national Black Inclusion Week.
The force is marking the week with a series of events and stories celebrating Black colleagues like firearms supervisor Sgt Michael Clarke, and communities, as well as “honest reflection and debate”.
It says last year was a painful one for policing, with the murder of George Floyd in America and the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement across Britain.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: “Last year many of us reflected on some of the failings from the past and some things we still don’t get right today.
“BIW is about celebrating the contribution of our Black community and our Black colleagues – however it’s not just about this week but far beyond. It’s about continuing the work to make the force a place where all people feel included and inspired.”
Sgt Clarke said: “I joined WMP in 2009 – it was my first real job. I’ve two younger brothers and wanted to be a good role model for them.
“I’d always liked cop shows when I was growing up but I never really considered a career in the police. Then my friends started applying and I realised it was something that I could do too.
“I did lose some friends when I joined the police but they clearly weren’t going to be friends for life. My family have always been supportive though. For obvious reasons they do worry about me, especially with being on the front line.
“I’m a member of the Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA) and their support helped me through the promotion process to Sergeant. They’re now helping now with becoming an Inspector.
“I’d love to achieve the rank of Chief Superintendent. I’ve 26 years left so this should be achievable.”
Follow @WMPolice on Twitter for updates throughout the week.