Award-winning Mick leaves WMP legacy after 45 years
He joined policing in the same year as The Sweeney hit our TV screens.
But Mick Braycotton served for much longer than fictional detectives Jack Regan and George Carter after amassing a whopping 45 years with us.
Mick’s WMP legacy was cemented even before the recent announcement he had been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year honours.
Although it was a fitting policing finale for the 65 year-old who decided all good things must come to an end by retiring last month.
Mick fondly established a haul of memories and friends which stem back from his first role as a beat bobby in Handsworth in 1975.
Mick remained there for almost two decades before becoming a 999 call handler - and the first point of contact for distressed people ringing in an emergency. He then moved onto the motorway police control room as he completed 30 years’ service.
But Mick’s desire to help others, and catch criminals and law-breakers, meant his first retirement lasted less than a month. He promptly re-joined us as a police staff member and worked in our Anti-corruption Unit and Traffic Investigation Unit.
It was following his dreams which enabled him to fulfil his ambitions and more.
"Joining the police was something I had wanted to do since I was at school," he said. "But I had always been told to learn a trade so qualified as an electrician.
"When I was 20 there was a big West Midlands Police recruitment drive on and I thought it’s now or never.
"It was a real thrill to become a police officer and I started on the beat in Handsworth. I still remember my first arrest now, it was a man for drunk and disorderly behaviour.
"It was different back then and if you arrested someone on the night you had to write it up and then come back the next morning to take them to court yourself. You could end up with little or no sleep.
"But it was just a part of the role of being a police officer at the time. Things do change, there have been huge technology changes for a start, but what remains the same is the desire to help others and catch criminals."
Mick went on to play an important role in supporting staff as Secretary of the force’s Disability & Carers Community (EnAble) and Vice President of the Disabled Police Association.
Disability began to affect him in 2000, when operations on both knees left him with osteoarthritis and impaired mobility.
A few years later he caught a virus which caused damage to his heart. As a result, he suffered a shortage of oxygen, resulting in lethargy and sleep apnoea.
Afterwards, Mick continued to receive the support of the force and colleagues which meant he was able to carry on within policing.
"Once you’ve been a member of the police family you always feel part of it," he said.
"There’s camaraderie and I never felt it was a case of just going into work; it was meeting up with a second family and working together to help and protect others."
His experiences and efforts helped the force achieve Disability Confident Leader status in 2018 - the highest level an organisation can achieve under the scheme run by the Department of Work and Pensions.
The award recognises inclusive employers whose policies and procedures are disability friendly and who comply with the requirements of the Equalities Act.
His own personal accolade came when he was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List revealed at the end of 2020.
Mick said: "I feel incredibly proud and honoured. It’s something I’ve never thought about and never would have expected.
"It’s still a bit of a shock and I’m thankful to everyone who has supported me over the years.
"The force has been very supportive throughout my career and I would recommend joining to anyone.
"I’m already missing the place but after 45 years it was the right time to retire. I’ve been asked about helping out various groups in a voluntary role so I’m sure I will continue to be kept busy."
Fancy becoming part of the WMP family? The good news is we’re recruiting! Please visit our jobs website here: https://jobs.west-midlands.police.