A HUDDERSFIELD detective has spoken about his career to encourage people from ethnic minorities to join the police.
The force is hoping to boost the number of ethnic minority officers in its ranks. And it is also anxious to attract people who have experience of life and may have done other jobs first.
Det Con Tony Johnson, 47, fits both categories and has talked about his career in a bid to encourage others to join.
He now works in a special team set up by Huddersfield CID to catch robbers.
He was a semi-professional Huddersfield Rugby League Club player who worked at David Brown's in Meltham as a maintenance engineer for 12 years.
When the threat of job losses loomed at the factory, Tony decided to switch careers and joined the police in 1986 - around four years after a sergeant, Martin Garside, told him to apply because he thought Tony had the right temperament for the job.
And Tony never regretted it.
"The thing about this job is the variety," he said.
"You never know what each day will bring, but there is an immense amount of job satisfaction. My only regret is that I didn't join earlier."
After completing three years on the beat, Tony jumped at the chance to join CID on attachment and has been a detective ever since.
He spent five years in Wakefield, during which time he worked on the 1994 murder of 51-year-old Wendy Speakes, which made national headlines.
All his other police service has been in Huddersfield.
He is trained as a family liaison officer helping families after tragedies and serious crimes.
He is also a First Contact Officer, which means any officer in the West Yorkshire force can phone him to talk over problems with the job.
Tony has suffered virtually no racism during his career.
And he laughs when he remembers one elderly woman's reaction when he went to investigate a burglary at her home.
"She looked at me and then asked if I was really investigating this on my own," he said.
Coming from the African- Caribbean community means he is well-known and trusted by its members.
"Some of the younger generation think I should be siding with them because I'm black," he said. "But others talk to me and pass on information because of the colour of my skin."
He received a West Yorkshire Black Achievers Award a few years ago. And he was given a judge's commendation for a detailed investigation into an incident in Huddersfield town centre when a man was threatened with a knife.
Tony married Susan in 1977 and the couple have a 22-year-old son, Mark, and 20-year-old twins, Matthew and Laura.
Tony was born in Jamaica and came to Huddersfield with his parents Hubert and Myrtle when he was 10.
Tony lived at first at Beech Street in Paddock and attended Paddock Junior School before going to Royds Hall Secondary Modern.
He had never played rugby until then, but loved the sport.
Tony, a loose forward, at one point made the Great Britain under 24 squad.
He retired from semi-professional rugby in 1982, but has since played at the YMCA at Laund Hill, Salendine Nook.
He still needs his rugby skills at times.
He said: "A few days ago we spotted a car being driven erratically and stopped it.
"The driver then ran off and I had to chase him for a while before wrestling him to the ground!"
* Tony is happy to talk to anyone interested in joining the police. He can be contacted via Huddersfield police helpdesk on 01484 436659.