Police officers who sacrificed roles to help reforms remembered 100 years on - The Solihull Observer

Police officers who sacrificed roles to help reforms remembered 100 years on

Solihull Editorial 31st Jul, 2019   0

POLICE officers who sacrificed their roles to help reform policing for future generations are being remembered on the 100th anniversary of historic strike action.

In 1919 a band of Birmingham Police officers joined others nationally in making a stand over pay and working conditions.

Around 120 men among 1,430 officers in Birmingham went on strike after answering the call from the National Union of Police and Prison officers.

They lost their positions in policing but helped bring about changes which have benefitted generations, organisers say − including many of their own family members who went on to become police officers.

Police Federations were formed for officers to air their grievances and to act as an official body in their interests.

The significant moment in history is being recognised by current West Midlands Police staff with a commemorative event due to be attended by senior police officials and descendants of those who took part in the strikes, at Lloyd House on Friday (August 2).

A new book, entitled ’Out of the Blue’ has also been produced by Corinne Brazier and Inspector Steve Rice, from the West Midlands Police Heritage Project, will be launched on the day.

It had been compiled with the help of volunteers from the West Midlands Police museum and incorporates information and accounts from family members of the strikers.

One Birmingham family had four sisters who all married police officers from the Moseley Street station between 1910 and 1934 – and their legacy of policing continues even now.

Nellie and Edith Russell were married to police officers Thomas Mooney and Jack Allen who were both dismissed following the strike action.

While Beatrice Russell tied the knot with PC Harry Paragreen in 1916 and, following his death through illness two years later, went on to marry another officer, Billy Woodyatt.

The youngest daughter Mollie then married Birmingham officer Robbie Robinson in 1936 and their grandson is a serving police officer in Avon and Somerset.

Steve said: “There is no doubt that the events of 1919 were significant and impacted on policing forever.

“The feeling of discontent had been brewing for some time and led the then Birmingham Police to strike – something they had never done before or since.

“Officers were prepared to risk everything to ensure change and this helped lead to improvements which will hopefully ensure similar action is never needed again.

“The book and commemorations are all about remembering and further understanding their sacrifice.”

A themed open day from 10am until 4pm and evening talk from 5pm is being held at Steelhouse Lane Lock-up, in Birmingham on Saturday (August 3).

For more or to book a place visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/police-strike-1919-lock-up-talk-and-tour-tickets-64954126541

To pre-order copies of Out of the Blue, which cost £14.99 plus postage and packing, visit www.wmpeelers.com/product-page/out-of-the-blue

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