Proud to be-Jim’s reflections on Black History Month and life in the MDP
Retired MDP officer, Jim, tells us what Black History Month means to him and reflects on his career with the Ministry of Defence Police, following his visit to HM Naval Base Portsmouth, for the 50th Anniversary celebration on 1 October.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black history cannot be fully explained or broken down. Although a controversial statement to make, I feel that historically Black people have been seen to be inferior because of their colour. However, that is clearly not true. All lives matter and should be valued. We all have a right to live on planet earth, irrespective of our colour.
Much of what we see in this world — including culture and education — are man-made, but the creation of humanity is natural. How each person is made is not just about their colour — it is about all the things that make them unique and that should be celebrated.
When did you join the MDP and what made you join?
I came to England from Mauritius in 1970, to better myself, believing that I would have a more comfortable life. I started working in factories and eventually joined the MDP on 26 October 1977. I progressed by working hard and showing an attitude where I was confident and empowered to be the best I could be. My belief and motivation made me fearless and I achieved what I had wanted, a comfortable life for me and my family.
My colour or the accent of my mother tongue were never a problem in the police force. It was only the ignorance of some colleagues that I sometimes had to deal with but, I knew that was only a temporary passage in my journey. I surmounted any fuss or ignorance and became a police officer, showing my colleagues my strength and determination.
What did your family and friends think about you joining at the time?
My family were very pleased and proud of me. Some of my friends were surprised of my ambition. Some were jealous and discouraging of my new adventure because, at that time, being a police officer was seen as a prestige job.
What was your role in the MDP?
I served as a Constable for 13 years before I was promoted to Sergeant. I served in that rank for 20 years, until I took early retirement in 2011. I regularly attended Farnborough Air Show and was able to use my language skills as a French interpreter. I also worked on deployments and operations with different county forces and I assisted with recruitment initiatives to promote the Force to potential new recruits.
What was your experience like working with the MDP?
As a member of the MDP, I thoroughly enjoyed being a police officer. Some of the duties were focused on ceremonies and events, such as the policing operations in support of the return of all navy ships returning from the Falklands, the raising of the Mary Rose from the Solent seabed and Farnborough air shows. I was involved in many police operations and events at HM Naval Base Portsmouth, which was my favourite station during my career. I had some great moments and have served with many legendary officers. Memories which I will take to my grave.
What achievements are you most proud of?
The obvious one is my Sergeant promotion. I was also proud to be a Black role model, for new recruits looking to join the force.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to join MDP?
I don’t know the Force now, having left ten years ago, but if it is the same Force that I remember, I can advise anyone who is looking for a police job to grab it with both hands! The MDP gave me a comfortable life, I have fond memories and have met many interesting people. A career never to forget.
Visit www.mod.police.uk to find out more about a career with the Ministry of Defence Police .