Chief Inspector Norman Pascal, our most senior black police officer in Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Chair of the Avon and Somerset Black Police Association, is retiring at the end of February. His 30 year career has seen him work across a wide range of roles, from beat officer to detective, to roads policing and his current role in helping the constabulary to recruit a more representative workforce.
A few weeks ago, the communities of Bristol held a special legacy event for him, to show him how much they appreciate all he has done for diversity and equality across the city and within the constabulary.
This is what people said about him:
“Few of us go out and create change in the way you have.” Sangeeta Dewan BCFM
“Norman has created one of the best BPA’s in the country. He’s a people person, who has time for everyone. His knowledge is second to none and he doesn’t mess about. He’s to the point and we need more people like him. I hope I can continue his work not just in Bristol but in the wider force area.” Aqil Farooq – PC at Southmead who is taking over from Norman as the Chair of Avon and Somerset’s Black Police Association
“Norman represents someone who wants everyone to have a chance: young people to have a better future; communities to be safer and able to fulfil their potential. Norman is a great police officer, firm when needed, but also compassionate and a great advocate on behalf of others. He has always gone about this quietly, not because he wants to promote himself, but because it’s who he is.” Retired Acting Chief Constable of A&S Constabulary, John Long
“Norman has been honest enough to stand in front of the camera and admit that the police force does not represent the communities it serves. He will be very much missed by all the communities for his great work.” Arif Khan, Chair of the Bristol Muslim Council
“Norman has delivered five assemblies to cover over a thousand of my students, who come from a whole host of different backgrounds. He was very honest about his own school experiences, admitting that he didn’t take all the opportunities that were offered to him and that if he had, he may have achieved even greater things in his career. This really chimed with the students. One child even said ‘blimey, I’m really going to have to knuckle down now aren’t I?!’ After one of Norman’s assemblies, a staff member commented that he’d never seen his students so attentive and engaged.
“Norman has had a real impact on my students and has already left a legacy at our school. I wish him all the best in his retirement.” Elizabeth Gipine – Head Teacher of St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School
“I think Norman and Avon and Somerset Police have done a great job in working towards a more representative workforce. They are nearly at 3% (overall workforce from BME communities) and Bristol has come a long way. I am very encouraged, but we all have a role to play in helping to continue this work. It’s no good just telling the Constabulary to recruit more from our communities – we as parents and community leaders need to encourage our young people that working for the police is something to aspire to.” Bristol City Councillor Afzal Shah
“I personally have been so inspired by your leadership. You have an inner wisdom and insight that you bring to everything you do. You never allow people to sit around in their comfort zones.” Janet Hills President of the National BPA and Chair of the Metropolitan Police BPA
“The first time I met Norman, I was taken aback. I thought, ‘will he understand me?’ But he was listening, he put me at ease. I was glad to see someone who was like me, to listen to me and help me. We’re gonna miss him.” Shiv Sama, community member
“His retirement is our gain, as we will get more time with him and be able to pick his brains more!” Mandy Watson – Chair of Felix Road Adventure Playground in Easton
“Norman really changed my opinion of black police officers. He always comes up with some great pearls of wisdom. He says what he believes and does what he says.” Ruth Pitter – VOSCUR and member of the Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality Steering Group
“Norman, you are a trailblazer, you work tirelessly and with the complete trust of everyone around you. You do all of this serious, sincere, important work, with a warmth and infectious humour and laughter.” Sumita Hutchinson – Chair of the Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality Steering Group
“Norman is a special individual. He is a friend, and will continue to be so. He is a leader and a champion for equality. He is a Bristolian with a special connection to the city. He has a wonderful way of connecting with people. He speaks the truth to power. He very bluntly and clearly advises me on how to do my job. He gives me solutions not problems. I intend to make sure his legacy continues and I promise to carry forward his work on a more representative workforce with the PCC Sue Mountstevens.” Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Chief Constable Andy Marsh
“Norman has a big heart and he cares about people and the city of Bristol. His passion for policing and equality knows no bounds and I hope he continues to help our commitment to make Avon and Somerset Constabulary more representative of the communities it serves. Norman has spent his life making a difference and I am sure this will not stop in his retirement.” Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens
And the man himself said:
“Of all the work I’ve done, I’ve really enjoyed going back into the schools. I left school with no qualifications. It’s the police service which has given me my true education. I tell the kids that if I had focussed more when I was at school, maybe gone to university, got a degree or two, I could have progressed more. When I tell the kids this, you can see them listening and taking this in.
“When I was a kid growing up in Bristol, I lived in Felix Road Adventure Playground, it kept me off the streets, so this is the one place I’m going to really put my energy into once I retire, to make sure it’s there for today’s kids and tomorrow’s.” Chief Inspector Norman Pascal.