Sergeant Harvy Rai of West Midlands Police speaks about growing up in Walsall and his first memories of celebrating Vaisakhi.

I was born in Punjab and arrived in Blighty when I was just four months old. I regard myself as a Black Country lad and grew up in Walsall.

Growing up, Vaisakhi was all about the Nagar Kirtan (holy procession), walking with the community and feeling a great sense of belonging.

Everybody in Walsall knew each other and the elders kept vigil on the community spirit making sure no one stepped out of line. Those early observations have stayed with me and I too like to keep an eye on the general well being of the community.

Today Vaisakhi is an opportunity to keep in touch with my friends and reflect on how the community has developed since the last Nagar Kirtan.

On a personal level, Vaisakhi is a reminder of the events in 1699 when the first Amrit initiation ceremony was performed and a gentle nudge to my own conscience about becoming an initiated Sikh.

I’ve always had a blurred line with what is work and what is me just helping people. The community know I’m a copper and they tend to seek me out and share their wins and losses with me.

Often they’ll disclose matters which sometimes can be a heavy burden to carry, but I’m honoured they trust me.

This is where my faith and Sikhi carry me, I’m so reliant on my Guru, who without I’m pretty sure I’d have crumbled.

I align my spirituality with the Sikh values, for me these sit comfortably with our force values. Over time I learnt that it’s important not only to do the right thing, but do the right thing in the right way.

Helping others and working as a police officer is a natural extension of my character and West Midlands Police was an easy choice, it’s where I’ve lived and understood the community.