Brothers Mike and Carlton Wedderburn – clocking up 60 years of service
In September 1990, brothers Mike and Carlton Wedderburn joined BTP as new recruits, determined to make a difference and serve the public.
To mark Black History Month
, they reflect on their policing careers and the changes they have witnessed during their time with the Force.
Both are based in Manchester - Mike is an Inspector and Carlton stepped back from frontline PC duties three years ago and is now the Station Support Officer at Manchester Peninsula.
Mike: When we joined 30 years ago, things were very different for Black officers. It was a massive decision for us to make. Our family were very supportive but we lost about half our friends because we decided to join the police. It just wasn’t the ‘done thing’ in the 90s.
Carlton: There was a lot of peer pressure, but I have no regrets. I thought at the time – if you are on the outside you can’t make a difference and that’s what drives us both – we wanted to make a difference.
Mike: Actually, Carlton owes his career to me…
Carlton: That’s true! Halfway through my training, I almost pulled out but Mike convinced me to stick with it and I’m very glad he did.
Mike: I was the first black officer at Manchester and was welcomed onto the team. There was a family mentality, everyone was supportive, you could count on people and that’s so important.
I’ve always had a good experience in BTP, from leading a response team at Manchester and being a sergeant on the Operational Support Unit to being Officer in Charge at Preston and leading the team in Liverpool. As an Inspector, I was public order commander for the North West, the first Black officer within BTP to hold that post.
Carlton: Policing is a great career. One of my highlights was going to Germany in 2006 for the World Cup when England were playing. They took a dozen officers from each force to help police the event. I applied and was selected. It was a brilliant four weeks and I was very proud to represent BTP.
Mike: It’s has changed a lot since we joined. At the start, if there was an incident involving Black people they would send ‘the Black officer’ to deal with it and back in the 90s that was like pouring petrol on a fire because there was such a high level of distrust in the police. Now, more and more people have joined and it isn’t so unusual to see a person of colour in uniform. It’s become a positive thing and I think that’s a reflection of how society has changed.
Carlton: One of the good things about us both working at BTP is that we understand the pressures of the job, although we were rarely on the same shifts when I was a PC. Mike’s wife Michelle also works for BTP (Operations Inspector at Manchester), so it’s a family thing! We support each other.
Mike: BTP has been good for us and we all get a lot of satisfaction from providing a service as police officers. When someone comes up to say thank you – that makes it all worthwhile.