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West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund - Donation Story

Donation in memory of dog handler, PC McLachlan

West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund has received a donation in excess of £300, in memory of retired police constable Alex McLachlan. His son Ian, paid tribute to his father’s long service and reflects upon his incredible career, spanning three decades.

“My father moved from his hometown of Glasgow to join Birmingham City Police on the 5 November 1960.  On arrival at Birmingham a pigeon gave him a welcome on his head as he made his way out of New Station to start his training.

“It was a police force that hadn’t moved on much since Victorian times.  He was given the number B53, a uniform, a whistle, a truncheon, a cape, and sent out on to his beat without any backup other than a sergeant meeting him at various points; the only way the alarm could be raised if something happened, was if he didn’t meet his sergeant, or return to the station on time. A search for him would then have to start from his last position and could take some time. 

“After finishing his training, he worked out of Cotteridge Police station and Speedwell Road Station. He also worked out of Selly Oak Police station before moving to Longbridge Police Station. His Northfield beat covered a wide area which took him though Birmingham Waterworks and onto Northfield High Street.  A few years later he was eventually allowed to give his legs a rest and was given a Velocette Motorcycle.

“After a short stint on the CID, he transferred to the dog section around 1967.  He stayed a dog man for the rest of his career working mostly out of Bournville Lane. Over that time, he had four Police dogs: Torch, Rebel, Cralo and Barney.  They all had individual characteristics, but I do remember my father once mentioning that he attended a fight at a chip shop on Bell Lane Northfield one Friday evening. He took Rebel out of the back of the van but Rebel made it clear to him he was on his own on that occasion as he decided to finish off the bags of chips those involved in the fight had dropped.

“My father did a total of thirty-three years: fourteen years with Birmingham City Police and nineteen years with West Midlands Police after the boundary changes amalgamated Birmingham City Police with parts of the Staffordshire, Stoke, Warwickshire and West Mercia forces.  

He had three collar numbers over his career:  B53, B3293 and lastly 3293 (the first number 3 represented he was on division B).

“My father wanted to do thirty-five years, but he started to suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and found he could no longer do the job and was medically retired on 9 May 1993.”

The Benevolent Fund is immensely grateful to Ian and the family and friends of the late PC Alex McLachlan for their recent donation.

Legacy gifts and funeral donations, however small or large, enable this police charity to support members and their families through difficult times.

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