This film is part of Free

Vox Pops on Black Police Officers

Black police officers? What a ridiculous idea! Attitudes from England's colonial past linger on in the Midlands of the 1960s.

Non-Fiction 1966 3 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


Reg Harcourt gauges views from a Midlands street about a then controversial issue: ethnicity within the police force. It may be a surprising fact for modern viewers, but the total number of paid black and Asian police officers in Britain when this was filmed in February 1966 was zero! No matter how outdated and jarring the views may be to modern sensibilities this seemingly disposable news items provides us with a reminder of how far we have travelled.

Mohamet Yusuf Daar joined the Coventry police force on 15 March 1966 becoming, in the language of the day, the first 'coloured police officer'. Daar was born in Kenya of Asian heritage and had previously been an inspector with the police force in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Norwell Roberts, originally from the Leeward Islands, joined the Metropolitan Police in 1967. Another early trailblazer was Astley Lloyd Blair who was an unpaid special constable in Gloucestershire from January 1964.