Chinese New Year #HumansofWMP: Matt Skelding, dispatch supervisor
It’s Chinese New Year and Matt Skelding talks about his heritage, what new year means to him and why he chose to work for West Midlands Police.
"I was born in Hong Kong into a mixed race white-Chinese family and we moved to Birmingham when I was a baby.
"I haven’t visited China since and as a youngster there was concern from my family that should I step into China I might not be allowed back out, even with a British passport.
"Chinese New Year festivities last for 15 days. The first day of the New Year is considered as a time to honour those elder members of the family – if they haven’t come to you, you should go to them as a mark of respect.
"Growing up it was about celebrating the Chinese side of my family and it was treated as a big family gathering, in the same manner that Thanksgiving is in the United States.
"This Chinese New Year is the year of the Pig - I was born in the year of the Ox, which is normally denoted by being a hard worker in the background, intelligent and reliable, but never demanding praise.
"I joined the police after university when I came across an advert to work in a police control room. It’s a busy and demanding job where we take all calls from the public and dispatch officers to support at incidents.
"I remember being on the police radio when two response officers shouted up to say they were chasing some geese down Bradford Street – it’s the only time I’ve created an incident log that read wild goose chase.
"I think as a police force we have come a long way but we could still do more to work with and understand certain communities, especially East Asian groups. In doing so I think we could encourage more people from these backgrounds to join and represent our communities.
"Perhaps some people don’t think of it, but you don’t have to be a police officer, you can have a rewarding career as a police staff member and I think that option may appeal more to certain communities."