'They assumed I was a drug dealer': Black police worker tells of experience before joining the force

ITV News Central Presenter Pablo Taylor reports on the complex relationship black people often have with the police, as part of our coverage for Black History Month

A black member of Nottinghamshire Police has told ITV News Central of his negative experience with the police while growing up and how he later decided to join the force.

Romel Davis has been speaking about his career journey and why the work he does is so important. 

He told ITV News Central: "Growing up, my perception of the police was that everything they were associated with was really negative. 

"Whether it was friends being arrested and also some of the personal experiences I had as well.

"One that really sticks in my mind was that I was riding my pushbike through the estate at around midnight, minding my own business on my own and then was pulled off my bike by two police officers that weren't in uniform."

'They stereotyped me, they saw a young black male on a pushbike at midnight and assumed I was probably a drug dealer,' Romel Davis says

Mr Davis added: "They asked me what was in my pockets, they asked me what I was doing. They didn't tell me who they were or anything.

"I really feel that on that day they racially profiled me, they stereotyped me."

He continued: "They saw a young black male on a push bike at midnight and assumed from the stereotype that I was probably a drug dealer."

Mr Davis added that he feels as though the perception started to change as he got older and you start to realise that there's good and bad everywhere.

He said: "When an opportunity did come up to join the police I did take it even though I was still a bit concerned about how I would be treated and how other people would view me for joining."

"Some of my older family members had even worse experiences than myself so I understand why they were apprehensive about me joining, because of what they experienced and what I'd experienced too", he said.

He added: "I did find it tough when I first joined the police, being one of the only black members of staff that were in the department.

"It did feel quite lonely in that aspect because as much as everyone was really welcoming, it does help when you're around people that have had those experiences and have that cultural awareness and look like you."

Mr Davis also spoke of what he currently does for Nottinghamshire Police, saying: "I'm a youth outreach worker so I work with young people between the ages of eight to 16-years-old that are either vulnerable, socially excluded or involved in crime and one of the main purposes is around raising aspirations and inspiring young people to make positive decisions and positive changes and put them on the right path."