3 October 2021
To mark the start of Black History Month, PC Richard Gayle has shared his personal story of being a young, Black police officer in the UK’s busiest police service, and his hopes to encourage more Black people to join the police.
PC Gayle joined the Met in October 2014, something he had envisioned for his future from a young age: “I had always had a keen interest in policing from a young age. My dad joined in the Met in 1996 and I remember going to his passing out parade at Hendon. I decided from that day that I wanted to be a PC.”
“I started as a volunteer police cadet when I was 13 and worked my way into being a full-time officer at 18. I have done a bit of everything, from frontline policing to becoming a digital media investigator for Counter Terrorism Policing. I have really enjoyed exploring the breadth of roles on offer to police officers. I was even recently hand-picked to be part of a large-scale recruitment drive, helping to encourage people from minority groups to join the police service - something I am really proud of.”
“I believe that you can’t be what you can’t see. Being a Black, gay police officer hasn’t always been easy but I am proud to be me. Being here means I can be a part of the right conversations being had by the right people. I can help to ensure that equality is getting the attention that it deserves, all while doing a job that I love.”
‘To me, Black History Month means celebrating living in a world where I can be my authentic self, whilst recognising we still have some way to go before we reach true equality. It is important to acknowledge the amazing achievements of black people throughout history such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who made it possible for me to live the life I do today.
“It is important for police forces to celebrate Black History Month because throughout history we haven’t always got it right, but by gaining a better understanding of the past, cultural sensitivities and differences, we can ensure the same mistakes never happen again.’
“I have had a varied and exciting career, doing everything I have wanted since I was a child and I am so proud of it all. I hope that I can continue doing my best to inspire young Black people to join the police.”