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Trailblazing WMP bobby wins Inspirational Leader award

An inspirational officer who has become West Midlands Police’s most senior black female bobby has received a national award for her leadership qualities.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Geddes was named Inspirational Leader of the Year in honour of her work with the Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA).

The officer with force CID oversaw competition from a ten-strong shortlist to receive the title at the recent Ethnicity Awards in London.

Karen has risen through the ranks after starting as a beat bobby in 1992 to become the first black female of DCI rank earlier this year.

She was appointed chairperson of the West Midlands branch of BAPA six years ago and has been at the forefront of supporting staff from black and ethnic (BME) heritage. 

Role model Karen has also raised the work of the association in communities and helped pave a path for others from an ethnic background to follow - in carving out a successful and rewarding career at West Midlands Police.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Geddes

The long-serving officer - who also finds time to raise money for charity including doing the New York Marathon in memory of former police officers - said she was shocked but honoured to receive the Inspirational Leader award. 

She hopes her story and career can help inspire others from a BME background with an interest in joining the force to consider joining up. 

Karen said: "There were a lot of nominations from the private sector and I was very surprised, but clearly delighted, to win.

"I am proud if it makes me a role model in the BME community, but it is not just about me this is about the work of BAPA as a group."

She was nominated by her BAPA colleagues who highlighted some of her achievements which included championing equality and being a leading presence in ensuring the force was better equipped to deliver, support and serve diverse communities across the region.

"The association gives me a network, another family to go and talk to and give confidence in having a voice," she said.

"We continue to highlight the importance of diversity both inside the organisation and also within our communities.

"Although representation has improved I am still in the minority as a black female police officer and I want to see more in the future. 

"Being a police officer is a fantastic role, being in a position to protect and make a difference for others.

"Policing is always something which will be here and while traditionally there has been a reluctance for those from a BAME to consider joining the force, as a community we can help change this line of thinking. I would encourage anyone to consider a career like this." 

WMP is currently staging its largest recruitment drive in years and anyone interested can visit the web page.

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