#HumansofWMP: Chinese New Year: Paul Wong: Counter Terrorism Unit, National Training Manager
To mark the start of Chinese New Year we are sharing our colleagues stories. Paul Wong tells us about his childhood, why he joined West Midlands Police and the Chinese New Year traditions he still continues.
"My family owned Chinese restaurants growing up so we were always busy running parties and celebrating around Chinese New Year.
"There are lots of traditions but to be honest the only ones we now continue are getting together, eating and handing out ‘lucky money’. This is given in red packets by the older family members to the younger ones, especially the children, and I’ve noticed that as I get older it’s costing me more!
"Chinese New Year is special to me because more than anything else it’s the connection to my heritage and my father. It connects me to the past and reminds me of who I am and what formed me.
"Growing up in a small town in Staffordshire and being the only non-white people in that area could have been a recipe for problems, but it wasn’t to be honest. Yes I was called names, but I had great friends who I still see to this day and I grew up in a supportive family.
"It wasn’t until I became a police officer that I really encountered problems out on the streets. But then I’m not sure whether I was being called names because of my background or just because I was wearing a uniform.
"My dad wanted me to join the family business, but we had friends who were police officers. I was always going to join the armed forces or the police - in fact I did sign up for the Royal Air Force, but joined West Midlands Police as a police cadet at the last moment, because my mom told me I had to!
"Throughout my career I’ve been a plain clothes officer, worked in Special Branch and been a counter terrorism officer. I retired in 2011, returning as a police staff member later that year into a national training manager role.
"I have dealt with so many incidents throughout my career, some of which I would never commit to print. But I would say that being the interview coordinator for many counter terrorism cases was the most rewarding. I’m really proud of the things we achieved as a team during that time."