My name is Andrew Walker and I’m a response officer in Wellingborough. I’m a black, British, Brixton born and bred bloke!
At 59 years old I’m still happy in body and soul!
Back in about 2006, I was working in security and on my way to work when my mother called me, frantic, someone was trying to get into her flat. Turning my car around and driving to her flat as quickly as possible she had already beat the person off the window with her walking stick and he hadn’t managed to get in or cause any damage. You don’t mess with West Indian mothers!
Though this shook up my mother, she was safe. I didn’t want such things to happen to vulnerable people. It was then that I decided to join Northamptonshire Police as a PCSO. Soon after, I put in my application to join the regulars.
My family had always said that I should have been a police officer when I left school and maybe they could see something that I initially couldn’t. I left school with GCSE’s and took numerous jobs which led to management roles, finance positions amongst many others. My brother joined the Armed Forces serving this country, so you could say, we have both served Queen and Country in our roles.
I would say working for Northamptonshire Police is challenging, rewarding, frustrating and without doubt, testing. Trying to do good isn’t always easy living in the current glare of times we are in. Things have certainly changed since I joined but for the better.
There are always people who object to the vocation I have chosen because it’s law and order. But there are also many more decent law-abiding members of the community who are glad that you are who you are and what you represent.
As a black police officer working on the frontline, until recently, it didn’t seem that I needed to question or walk a fine line to continue what I enjoy doing.
The community that I have interacted with over the years that know me, do realise that I will treat them fairly and lawfully. There have been times when people have verbally expressed name calling towards me. But largely, people who interact with us are not looking at the colour of my skin, but are looking at what the uniform represents, which is help. Not the skin colour of the officer dealing with them.
I’m not a landscape gardener, an astrophysicist, a bus driver or an airline pilot. I’m a police officer and a proud one at that. Sometimes you can get philosophical asking “Am I a black man who is also a police officer? Or am I just a man who is helping people?
I’m proud to be a police officer and though I joined later than some, age wise, I’m young at heart and continue to bring enthusiasm and positivity.
This isn’t always the easiest job. I am sympathetic to those families who have lost lives involving the police. I am also sympathetic to those fellow officers injured or killed in the line of duty. It’s a thin blue line for black officers, and behind that uniform are families, mothers. sisters and brothers. The challenge continues, but one that is definitely worth it.