Dr Leroy Logan OBE, who overcame huge racial obstacles in his own life as a black police officer for 30 years, continues to attract recognition for his lifelong campaign to break down prejudice and stereotypes.
The story of the founder member of the Black Police Association was recently featured on BBC1 in the ‘Red, White and Blue’ episode of Steve McQueen’s show ‘Small Axe’ – when he was played by actor John Boyega.
Described by The Voice newspaper as ‘one of the Black officers who helped change the Met’ Leroy was born in 1957 in Islington to Jamaican parents. He is a committed Christian, a proud Londoner, and a passionate mentor for young people, as well as a highly respected advisor on knife crime.
His achievements have also inspired many Christian leaders, including David Campbell Regional Leader of Elim’s Metropolitan East and Metropolitan West Regions.
“When we look at the spreading oak tree few wonder what the acorn from which it grew looked like. In the slow but sure change of the public landscape Leroy Logan is such an acorn who has quietly but faithfully grown into a landmark in the changing vista of society. There is a long way to go yet but people like Leroy don’t disappear; they are sowing a legacy for equality and justice from which we all benefit.”
Meanwhile Bishop of Dover The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin said, “Leroy Logan is a great example of achievement against all the odds.”
During his three decades working in the Metropolitan Police, he regularly faced discrimination and racist abuse as one of the few black police officers in the Met.
But that hasn’t deterred him from standing up for the principles he believes in.
“People do see me as a bit of a lone wolf or a maverick,” he said. “Both within the Met and within the African-Caribbean community, I’ve encountered people who accuse me of betraying my culture and not being sincere or loyal. But to me, loyalty means being ethical and to the point, and being truthful.”
In 1982, Leroy was preparing for a career in science and medicine when he felt a strong call to join the police. It was unexpected to say the least – “I had seen the way police officers treated people that looked like me, and it was sickening” – and he knew he would face opposition from family and friends. Yet the call was too strong to ignore, reinforced by a friend who told him, “We need an organisation that looks like London; we need black officers.”
And shortly after he submitted his application to join the Met, his father was viciously assaulted by two police officers. Yet Leroy was determined to improve the relationship between the Met Police and London’s black community.
After Damilola Taylor’s murder in 2000 – a particularly emotional investigation for Leroy, not least because Damilola’s father Richard is the cousin of Leroy’s wife – Leroy was part of a small team of black officers who used ‘affinity policing’ to break the wall of silence in house-to-house enquiries, providing critical information for the investigation.
Since retiring from the Met in 2013 Leroy continues to speak out against inequalities and injustice and to work with young people through schools and outreach projects, which he sees as a ‘lifetime vocation’.
Leroy’s story is told in his memoir ‘Closing Ranks’ published by SPCK