Sgt Stan Bean

Stanford Wills Bean joined WMP in 1975 and retired as a sergeant in 1999. He sadly died in 2007. Last year we celebrated 20 years of the Black and Asian Police Association, an organisation Stan played a fundamental part in creating.

 Stan’s daughter Jennifer found a folder her father kept of his career achievements after he passed away – including his exemplary discharge certificate from the British Army. In this folder she found a copy of a report he had written to all black and Asian police officers about the creation of a Black Police Association. The report is dated 29th November 1994.

 In the report, by way of introduction, Stan explained that he joined the force in 1975 aged 27, after completing 10 years exemplary military service. He explained that for all his service, it has been based in Birmingham (central & inner city). At 11 years’ service he was promoted to sergeant and posted to Queens Road. He then spent 6 years as a sergeant within the Community Service Department and then before he retired, the custody block at Steelhouse lane. He also explained that he had interest in working on the OSU and Scenes of Crime Department, but was unsuccessful in gaining attachments to those respective departments.

The late Sgt Stan Bean

The late Sgt Stan Bean

In the report Stan stated ‘The police service has come a long way since 1975, but there is still room for improvement.’ He added ‘some of you might be reluctant to even contemplate forming a black police association in this force. Because of numerous reasons, for example you don’t want to be seen as a trouble maker, worried that joining an association would have a detrimental impact on career prospects.’

In his report Stan recognised the difficulties of creating and launching such an association, as many black officers are apprehensive about socialising with each other or even mixing with the black community. He wrote ‘a positive attitude is required from you because Black and Asian officers’ experiences inside and outside the service are unique’.

Stan went on to explain the remit of the Black Police Association and reinforced that the association does not intend to replace statutory staff associations. He outlined the areas the association would focus on-

  1. Support network

  2. Social network

  3. Equality of opportunity

  4. Police Community Relations

  5. Recruitment Policy

  6. WMP Policy development

Stan also outlined goals he expected the association to achieve in its first year. He made sure BAPA had a voice and wasn’t afraid to challenge the force.

Chief Constable Edward Crewe and Sgt Bean

Chief Constable Edward Crewe and Sgt Stan Bean

Stan Bean loved sport – boxing, rugby, football & cricket. He played cricket for West Midlands Police and played for West Midlands Police Cricket Veterans. Since his death, every June a memorial cricket match is played between WMP Vets and Handsworth Park Cricket Club – held at alternate locations of Handsworth Park  and Tally Ho! A team cricket photo hangs in the Tally Ho Social Club bar.

On retiring from the police Stan continued to give back to the community. He was passionate about mentoring, supporting and developing young black boys. He worked at Wheelers Lane Boys School and latterly Holte School (2002-2006), before his illness took hold and he died in 2007.

1996- The formation of BAPA

The murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 had a significant impact on the Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) community, both inside and outside of the police.

In 1994, the Metropolitan Black Police Assocation (BPA) was created, with the Commissioner of the time Sir Paul Condon declaring it was the only way forward in tackling the significant amounts of BME officers leaving police forces across the country.

On 1 January 1996, black officers and support staff met for the first time in West Midlands Police to explore their reality in the police service and to share their feelings and experiences openly. The basis of these discussions was to address the disproportionately high number of black officers leaving the service and from this an informal social network was established, which would later become the Black and Asian Police Assocation.

1966- Policing for all communities

While 1966 may be remembered for a certain sporting event in many people’s eyes, it will be remembered in the West Midlands as the year policing changed forever.

PC Jo Daar, the first BME officer in the West Midlands

PC Jo Daar, the first BME officer in the West Midlands

PC Ralph Ramadhar, the first black officer in the West Midlands

PC Ralph Ramadhar, the first black officer in the West Midlands

Mohamed Yusuf Daar (Jo), a former Inspector in the British colony of Tanganyika (which became Tanzania), moved to England and enquired about a job working for Coventry City Police. He signed up, and became the first Asian officer in the history of the West Midlands. Two years later in 1968, his brother Mohammed Yunus Daar also joined Coventry City Police, and served for 14 years.

Also joining Birmingham City Police in 1966 from Trinidad was Ralph Ramadhar, who became the first black police officer in the West Midlands. Jo Daar wrote a letter of support to him when he was appointed, and the two men regularly met up to share their experiences and support each other. He was made the first black sergeant in the country in 1970.

 

Remembering my father

The below piece was wrote by Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman:

The 27th June 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of my father Pc 256 Kerim “Kerry” Blakeman.

On Monday 27th June 1966 Dad was posted to M28 from Duke Street & was sent to Minstead Road, Gravelly Hill at 0657hrs where a Commer van had rolled into the main road and was obstructing traffic. Dad pushed the van out of the way and collapsed having suffered a massive heart attack. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital, he was just 35.

My two brothers Steve & John were aged 13 and 9. Sadly I never knew my father, my mother June was pregnant with me at the time of his death.

When I was born I was named Kerry after my late father.

My family were given my father’s police file, which has given us a great insight into his police career.

Kerim joined Birmingham City Police in December 1951 and attended Police Training College. On leaving police training the Commandant wrote “Pc Blakeman is a very smart tall young man, he has excellent bearing, he has the makings of an excellent police officer”

Kerim was posted to Steelhouse Lane Police Station in 1952 and earned £400 per annum!

He spent the majority of his first 10 years patrolling in what we would know as a response officer in today’s modern era of policing.

In 1962 Dad featured in a Birmingham City Police recruitment brochure when the below picture was taken in Corporation Street.

Blakeman

November 1963 saw my Dad being part of a police escort helping to smuggle The Beatles into the Birmingham Hippodrome. Dad was featured in the below iconic picture and is stood behind Paul McCartney.

Blakeman 2My Dad had always wanted to be part of “Traffic Patrols” and in June 1964 he became a grade 1 advanced driver and was posted to Traffic.

I have many fond memories of Christmas parties at Tally Ho courtesy of The Police Benevolent fund and also being visited by traffic officers who were friends with my Dad and helped to support my late mother.

My brother John joined West Midlands Police in 1975 and I suppose it was inevitable I too would join which I did in 1988.

I was humbled when the force unveiled their Roll of Honour in January 2013 remembering all those officers who have died or been killed on duty.

Blakeman 3

I was delighted to be appointed Chief Inspector in charge of Force Traffic in 2013, something I’m sure Dad would have been very proud of (and also as a Grade 1 advanced driver!) It was rather spooky that the Traffic car I took out on patrol on my very first day featured Dad’s initials “KHB.”

Fallen Heroes during WWII

April 1941 was one of the worst periods of heavy bombing experienced by the Midlands during the Second World War. It was also a very costly time for the police forces of the West Midlands with Birmingham City Police and Coventry City Police experiencing 11 fatalities between 8th April and 17th May.

On the 8th April, 54 year old Special Constable Frank Henry Kimberley lost his life during an air raid at the Central Police Station in St Mary Street in Coventry, opposite the cathedral which also suffered significant damage.

Arthur Frederick Matts, a 48-year-old builder and contractor, was caught up in the same blast. Commandant of the Coventry City Special Constabulary, he was awarded an MBE in March 1941 for his ‘leadership, initiative and devotion to duty’, having been on duty through all of the enemy air raids in Coventry. He later died in Warwick hospital.

The Coventry raids that night also killed Police War Reserve Constable Thomas Arthur Harroway. Aged 60, he died in Coventry and Warwickshire hospital when it was hit during the raids but his body was not located and identified until the 30th April due to the damage suffered by the hospital during the bombing. He is buried at the London Road Cemetery in the Civilian War Grave.

Special constable Frank James Cook, aged 29, his wife Mabel and their three-day old son Geoffrey were killed in a bombing raid on the 9th April in Birmingham.

Mr Cook had been a special constable for less than a year and was visiting his wife’s family in Alum Rock, when the house was struck by a bomb. Mabel’s father was also killed.

The bombing did not let up the following night with both Birmingham and Coventry again suffering extensive damage from more Luftflotte 3 aircraft.

Inspector Mark Sellek was on fire watching duty on the station roof at Digbeth Police Station when the building was struck by a high explosive bomb. He was killed instantly. He joined Birmingham City Police in 1925 aged 24.

SellekInsp Sellek was born and raised in Bristol and was commended twice between 1939 and 1940 for work involved in an IRA case and the arrest of a person in connection with explosives.

PC Bertie Gready joined the Grenadier Guards upon leaving school and signed up with Birmingham City Police in 1939 aged 20. Like Insp Sellek, PC Gready grew up in Bristol. He was also killed during the bombing of Digbeth Police Station on 10th April.

Bertie Gready

Ralph Wilkinson, a 50-year-old Special Constable from Bordesley Green East, was off duty when Luftflotte 3 swept over the city, dropping 285 tonnes of high explosives and 40,000 incendiaries hitting targets including the Saltley Wagon works, Midland railway, Birmingham East goods station, large gas holders in Saltley and Nechells and Windsor Street gas works.

Special Constable Wilkinson was killed alongside his wife Edith when bombs exploded in Richmond Road.

Specials Sub-Commander Rowland Thomas Harman was also killed that day. Married 60-year-old Mr Harmon, a section leader attached to Hay Mills Police station, was killed at 9.45am when a delayed action bomb exploded in Kenelm Road, Small Heath.

Special Constable Harold Leslie Lowe was 37 when he was killed during an enemy air raid in Coventry on 10th April 1941.

PC Jack Frederick Goodchild was born in 1911 and joined Birmingham City Police in 1934. He was on duty and was killed when a High Explosive bomb exploded in Parkdale Road at 4.05pm on the 12th April 1941.

goodchild

A printer by trade, Leonard Arthur Mead joined Birmingham City Police as a War Reserve Constable in 1940 aged 32. Whilst on duty at 17th May 1941 at 1:10am in Elkington Street, Aston, he was killed during a raid in which a total of 30 people lost their lives. The raid was carried out between 12:45am and 3:47am by 111 aircraft of Luftflotte 2 and 3. It caused fires at the ICI, the Dunlop Rubber Company, Wolseley Motor Company and the Kynoch Works.

Birmingham City and Coventry City Police have a total of 32 officers recorded on the West Midlands Police and predecessor forces Roll of Honour as having lost their lives to enemy action either at home or whilst on duty during the Second World War. Work is currently underway reviewing historic records to ensure all necessary updates are made to the board before it is re-hung in the refurbished Lloyd House reception in the Autumn.

A recent discovery from this work is that of Special Constable Ralph Henry Corfield, aged 41, who was killed by a German bomb which landed near his home in Lozells Road, Lozells, in July 1942. He was buried at Handsworth New Cemetery. He had been on duty the night before and after returning home there was an air raid at 1am. His two children were in bed in the family’s Anderson shelter in their garden and SC Corfield went to check on them before going to help fight fires in Wilton Street where houses had been bombed behind the family shop. His wife later went to look for him and found him under a pile of rubble.

There are also many tales of heroism and bravery from officers who survived the war.

Howard Etherington Wood, a Sergeant in Birmingham City Police, was awarded the George Medal for Gallantry in 1942. Following an air raid whereby six people had become trapped underground in a shelter, Sergeant Wood and Constable Ernest Callaghan forced entry and found one injured man and the body of another before a partial collapse blocked the entrance to the shelter. Sgt Wood and PC Callaghan cleared debris by hand, and were helped by a civilian, in recovering survivors. The building contained heavy machinery and could have collapsed at any moment, and enemy aircraft were still dropping bombs nearby. PC Callaghan and the civilian who helped them received the British Empire Medal.

Pc Ron Jackson also received the esteemed medal for bravery during April 1941. Aged 24 and still a probationary PC, he burrowed beneath the rubble of the bomb-damaged block of flats to rescue a woman trapped when her ceiling collapsed on her.

jacksonThree wardens had tried to rescue the woman, removing some of the concrete rubble before backing away amid fears that removing any more would cause the rest of the ceiling to collapse.

A report of the incident in the Birmingham Mail stated: “Announcing that something must be done for the woman [he] went to the rear of the premises and burrowed a way through the debris to a place where the fallen masonry was.

“Lying on his stomach he commenced to saw through the reinforced concrete with a hacksaw and after lying in water for two hours was successful in freeing the woman.”

Former Sergeant Geoffrey Canning joined Birmingham City Police in 1937 aged 21. On 10th April 1941 along with two wardens, PC Canning found a man trapped in the debris of a house demolished by a bomb. Despite continual bombing and brickwork from the house falling all around him, PC Canning spent four hours working to free the man with the help of the wardens. For this heroic act he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

canning