Author: S Pascal
When my close friend and colleague Michael Wallace of Kick off @3 invited me to New Scotland Yard to meet with the Violent Crime Prevention Board and a line-up of influential community leaders, I had no idea of the impact it would have on me. The event was to celebrate the fantastic achievements of young champions in the community.
As I approached the security guard at New Scotland Yard, I produced my warrant card to him already familiar with the procedure. He acknowledged me and stood to one side allowing me to pass without question. If you had known me in my youth and someone had told me that I would be in a position to do this I would have laughed.
As I walked through a series of revolving doors, I finally came upon the familiar face of Police Constable Michael Wallace in his police uniform, hands clasped together in his familiar stance, poised for action. He is the founders of KickOff@3 alongside Ashley Levein.
There were no celebrities in the room, no senior high-profile Officers as in previous events I had attended, just what I thought at the time were everyday people. It almost looked like a parents evening at my children’s school.
The faces in the room I would quickly learn, were far from ordinary people, but more extraordinary. Why? As the evening unfolded, so many solutions to a quandary of issues would become clear to me, along with perhaps some more pressing answers that academics, politicians, MP’s and some of the greatest minds in this country are unable to unravel.
As the evening got underway, PC Wallace was first to address the room. The audience quickly settled down and focused their attention on his words. PC Wallace’s words from the offset would strike to the heart of what a lot of people felt, myself included.
“What we are trying to achieve here through all these programs such as Kickoff@3 is not for a tick box exercise so you can say you’re doing your bit around diversity and inclusion and then take the next promotion. If you want to get involved, you have to do it from the heart. “Do it out of love, not for love”.
"What we are saying is if you commit to do something like Kickoff@3, you have to stick with it, leave a legacy. If you move on it is your responsibility to ensure the baton is passed on safely to whoever takes over. Young people also need to be involved in the planning of these events, as well as celebrated which will help with the legacy. If the community and the police champion this initiative, its legacy will continue”.
PC Wallace was stern in his message and although a Police Constable regarded in his field at the lowest rank, like myself, he chose to sacrifice his own career for something he believed in and for the benefit of the greater good.
The Met Police sadly often gets a lot of criticism but it is also important to recognise, if it were not for the support of some in the organisation a lot of what he has achieved would have been even more difficult. These leaders bring value to the saying “True leaders don’t create followers they create more leaders”
PC Wallace is not a tall man but his presence is mighty and his mood serious, which to me always shows the intensity in his passion for Kickoff@3 and anything to do with this cause.
I am sure a lot of people would share my view, including high ranking officers that his actions put him in a rank of his own which should not be measured. How many people out there can say they dedicate as much of their own time and money in supporting a cause they believe in?
You could see that a lot of effort had gone into the evening strategically as everyone seemed to know their place and were prepared.
In a room of approximately150 people it was obvious to everyone, who some of the police were as a couple stood upright and stern in their uniform facing them from the side. If it were not for the pass I wore around my neck, no one can usually guess that I too am a police officer. Their reaction to finding out is usually followed with “You don’t look like a Police Officer”
This reaction always makes me chuckle as I proudly produce my warrant card which they study in disbelief. I think this goes to show you how few Black Detectives there are still in 2020 and sadly in all my years as an officer I have not seen a real shift, we are still few and far between.
Great female leaders in our community.
I want to take a moment to mention just one of the great female leaders in our community, whom I believe deserves an article in her own right, so I’ll be brief for now.
As I surveyed the room that day, my eyes were immediately drawn to the smiling face of the remarkable Dr Angela Herbert MBE, MSc Ed. Mgt, Ba (Hons) Ed. Trg, PGCE, DPQS, NNEB.
Dr Angela Herbert MBE began a public sector career over 30 years ago; volunteering for 13 years at a young offenders’ institution.
She is a qualified teacher and trainer, has an MSc in Education Management, a specialist in prison education, BA in Education and Training and a Professional Doctorate in Education. She also has a number of academic attainments including assessor, internal and external verifier awards, post-graduate educational mentoring, life, executive and educational coaching. She is an Institution in her own right and A Black Woman of so many accomplishments.
I had only spoken to her for the very first time 2 days prior on the phone, and it did not take us long to realise we shared each-others heart felt determination for change and helping underprivileged young people.
I look forward to bringing you what I hope are, more inspiring stories of the under represented heroes carrying out great work and inspiring young black leaders of the future.
“We Rise By lifting Others”
Visit the Kick off @3 website to find out more.
Written by: Shaun Pascal.