More black po­lice ‘could make dif­fer­ence’ in force Se­nior black of­fi­cer speaks out as he re­tires after 30 years

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Amardeep Bassey Ti­tle in here

THE black com­mu­nity can “make a dif­fer­ence” by join­ing the po­lice, one of the re­gion’s most se­nior black of­fi­cers has claimed as he re­tires.

Keith Fraser − the only black Su­per­in­ten­dent cur­rently with the force − has spoken of his pride at serv­ing the pub­lic since his first day on patrol back in 1985.

In a var­ied ca­reer, Mr Fraser went from beat pa­trols in Bark­ing, via New Scot­land Yard to the West Mid­lands where he worked in child pro­tec­tion, crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion and spe­cial­ist roles like tac­ti­cal firearms com­man­der.

He said: “The ser­vice re­ally does need and value dif­fer­ence. Any­one who cares about their com­mu­ni­ties should look at join­ing the po­lice.

“There is no point stand­ing on the out­side look­ing in when you could make a real dif­fer­ence. Peo­ple who are not white shouldn’t be such a rar­ity in polic­ing.”

Around nine per cent of West Mid­lands Po­lice of­fi­cers are from black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic (BME) com­mu­ni­ties − the sec­ond high­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion in UK polic­ing − and the force has in­tro­duced a pro­gramme aimed at at­tract­ing, de­vel­op­ing and re­tain­ing BME staff. ‘Dis­cov­ery Days’ at uni­ver­si­ties and schools, com­mu­nity cen­tres and places of wor­ship have been held to en­cour­age ap­pli­ca­tions from BME com­mu­ni­ties.

Mr Fraser added: “I have ex­pe­ri­enced some chal­lenges based on the colour of my skin and some racist com­ments − but they have been very rare oc­ca­sions.

“There is less racism in the po­lice than some peo­ple want to be­lieve.

“I feel some­times where we get it wrong it’s as a re­sult of un­wit­ting ac­tions or lack of knowl­edge.

“Most mem­bers of the pub­lic will not see most of what of­fi­cers do to help them be­hind-the-scenes.”

Since join­ing West Mid­lands Po­lice in 2005, Mr Fraser has worked in Birm­ing­ham, Stour­bridge, Wal­sall and Wolver­hamp­ton and been the force’s lead for chil­dren and young peo­ple and a vic­tims’ cham­pion.

He also helped cre­ate a group aimed at pre­vent­ing young peo­ple get­ting sucked into crime and gang ac­tiv­ity and re­ceived sev­eral brav­ery com­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing one for tack­ling a knife­man while he was off duty at a post of­fice.

Mr Fraser added: “Be­ing your­self is re­ally im­por­tant be­cause it’s what you bring as an in­di­vid­ual to polic­ing that mat­ters and is most ef­fec­tive. Rather than be­liev­ing you should try be a clone of those around you. The pub­lic re­late to you bet­ter and the po­lice ser­vice def­i­nitely ben­e­fits from dif­fer­ence.

“I think I may have tried a lit­tle bit too hard ini­tially to try and hide me as an in­di­vid­ual − so be your­self would be my num­ber one piece of ad­vice.”

There is less racism in the po­lice than some peo­ple want to be­lieve Su­per­in­ten­dent Keith Fraser

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One of the most se­nior black of­fi­cers in West Mid­lands Po­lice Force, Supt Keith Fraser, left, is re­tir­ing after 30 years

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