Force celebrates 25 years of the Black Police Association
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“The more like our communities we are, the better we can police” – those were the words of Chief Constable Simon Cole speaking at today’s event to celebrate 25 years of Leicestershire’s Black Police Association.
A packed lecture theatre at force headquarters heard candid stories from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers about their career and experiences in policing across the years.
The event marked the start of Black History Month and aimed to recognise the achievements of the BAME community in policing.
Mr Cole described it as a “joyous occasion” and said that he was “absolutely committed to making sure the force represents the community it serves.”
Among the speakers on the day was former Inspector Stan Braithwaite who flew in from Barbados where he now lives. Stan was the first black officer to complete 30 years’ service with the force and received an extremely warm welcome from the many officers, staff and volunteers in attendance.
In addition, Sergeant Mel Thomas, who has nearly 30 years’ service with Leicestershire Police, spoke about his career and policing journey which included many high points.
He said: “I am not a token. I believe in what I do and I’m proud to be an officer in Leicestershire. It’s allowed me to fulfil my dreams both professionally and through my love of sport. I’ve worked across many units and been involved in several policing sports teams which has seen me travel the world.
“I would say to anyone considering joining the service, it will develop you in ways you can never imagine.”
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon and Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach also attended the event to listen to the personal stories of past and present officers.
Mr Nixon, said: “Our celebration event was a great chance to come together and acknowledge the valuable contribution of colleagues.
“We recognise that we serve one of the most diverse communities in the country, and over the next few years have a fantastic opportunity to ensure we hire the best recruits from a wide cross-section of the communities we serve.”
The event’s theme was ‘History Through Our Eyes’, which covered the understanding and context of Black History Month and migration, as well as a talk from guest speaker and President of the National Black Police Association, Tola Munro, who talked about his time studying in Leicester.
Tina Paul, Chair of the Black Police Association (BPA), said: “Black History Month is a significant month to recognise all BME who have paved the way for others. It also highlights the importance of fairness, equality and diversity.
“It was wonderful having past, current and future police officers and staff attend such a landmark celebration on our 25th year anniversary of the Black Police Association.
“Alongside the Metropolitan Police, we were the only other force to celebrate 25 years of the Black Police Association, which is incredible and makes me proud.”