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Friday, 10 July 2020 - 7:58pm

Notts Police Constable shares story after being racially abused

"It's a real challenge. I know the force has made some real progress in recent years, but there is plenty of work still to be done."

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Police Constable Toby Roberts had only been in the role a year as a trainee officer when he was racially abused during an incident in The Meadows last year.

The Hong-Kong born officer was racially abused during a routine patrol in the area on 10 August 2019.

Romaine Williams, 29, was charged for racially aggravated public order and was found guilty in Nottingham Magistates’ Court on 12 September 2019 and was made to pay compensation and given community time.

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Toby said: “I’d never suffered any racial abuse throughout my life, throughout school in Hong Kong and England, nothing. That was until I put on the uniform and only then I’ve had a few insults come my way.

“I wouldn’t say I was shocked when I was abused, I think colleagues were more appalled than I was. I’m quite thick-skinned, so when he said it, I just stayed calm and told him it was unacceptable, as did the rest of my colleagues.

“I was more surprised with the result and how seriously the court took it really. It was a nice feeling that the magistrates kind of stuck up for me, they didn’t let it slide.

“You get the odd insult being called ‘Jackie Chan’ and ‘Rush-hour’, but that’s just people trying to be funny and trying to get a reaction. It doesn’t bother me.

“I’ve never felt different or out of place here at Notts Police. No one within the force has treated me any differently being half Asian. I’ve never had any problems and I think the force is doing a really good job when issues, outside the force, crop up.

“They are obviously trying to increase Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation within the force and that’s difficult. There is clearly a lot of distrust with the police and the BAME community. Not just here in Nottinghamshire, but across the world.

“It’s a real challenge. I know the force has made some real progress in recent years, but there is plenty of work still to be done.

“My personal experience is that I was given support sessions which were provided to me and other BAME applicants to guide me through the application process. They were put in place to make sure we were confident and understood the upcoming steps as part of the recruitment application. I found them really useful and without them I wouldn’t be here today.

“Also I have to credit the force when one of my BAME colleagues was struggling with his English. They have supported him through the university course and given him support with English lessons. I thought that was admirable, by sticking by him, not booting him out and giving him that encouragement. That was good to see.”

And Toby has been involved in some exciting incidents, including seeing things you wouldn’t normally see.

He was driving along in November last year in a double-crewed car when a call came in of a serious incident in Clifton. The pair had limited information of a man being attacked with a hammer, so they didn’t know what to expect.

He said: “Straight away we are thinking it’s a murder or attempted murder and you never know what you are going to see when you enter that house. I was the first on the scene and I can remember seeing blood everywhere, the man was in a really bad way, but it was our job to give him first aid until the ambulance came.

“It was quite early on in my role, but it was quite gory and obviously very serious. You don’t get to go and see things that the normal public would. I wouldn’t say I enjoy the gory side to it, but it’s the excitement and unknown and being able to think on your feet in those situations. Thankfully I learnt the victim made a full recovery and a man (Scott McGregor, aged 20) was charged with assault and his case is ongoing.

It is the first force to offer a three-year degree in just two years.

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