A long-serving Walsall policeman with Sikh heritage says he feels ‘blessed” after receiving a top honour for his work in tackling racism and making the police force more diverse.

Sergeant Harvinder Singh Rai, who co-founded the WMP and National Sikh Police Association, has been awarded the MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours 2023.

Sergeant Rai, known to colleagues as Harvy, joined the force almost 30 years ago and has helped tackle hate crime and protect the public as part of various police teams across the Black Country.

Upon hearing about the MBE, he said: “I was honoured to be nominated, let alone receive such an award.

“I feel blessed and this is a very happy moment for myself and my family.”

Across three decades of police work Sergeant Rai has worked long and hard to ensure race and diversity issues are tackled and victims given a chance to have their voices heard.

He identified the difficulties faced by members of the Asian community when trying to highlight hate crime via third party reporting so he decided to work with other police bodies to develop a specific reporting portal to make the process faster and easier to report racist hate crimes.

A police spokesperson, added: “Sergeant Rai has also played a key role in improving police connections within communities and building relationships with prominent leaders, assisting the force in responding to crime and concerns.

“He has led the WMP Sikh Police Association for many years – having helped its formation in 2013 to further support staff and create improved partnership working.”

In 2019 Sergeant Rai co-founded the National Sikh Police Association and became president, and has since worked on a collaboration to create a leadership academy to help officers from diverse backgrounds to progress their careers in policing.

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