I Am Norwell Roberts

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Norwell Roberts, the Met’s first Black police officer in 1967, found out he had a new job the same way the rest of the country did – from a Daily Telegraph headline that read ‘MET TO HAVE FIRST COLOURED POLICEMAN’.

From that day forward his face became a symbol – of acceptance, of a diverse police force, of a changing Britain. He was turned into the poster boy for progressive policing – but his day-to-day reality was anything but. Greeted with prejudice, ridicule, and rejection, he refused to quit. And thus began an extraordinary career that placed him on the frontlines for a tumultuous period in Britain’s history. Stationed at embassies, anti-war protests, and riots, his race singled him out and landed him on front pages around the world. This is the story of the man behind the headlines, in his own words.

Conversations about the police as an institution have never been more heated or more urgent than they are today, but to appreciate the present and how far we have come we sometimes need to revisit the past, no matter how painful. Honest, moving, and impossible to forget, I Am Norwell Roberts is a story of resilience against the odds, and of one man’s ability to make a difference.

(P) 2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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