Officers give ‘special’ service to force for almost 60 years
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Two officers who have given almost 60 years of their own time to Staffordshire Police have been awarded for their service.
Special Chief Inspector Simon Anderson and Special Inspector Chris Roper, from the Special Constabulary, were both given their bar and rosette at a ceremony last week to mark 29 years since the pair first joined the Specials on the same day.
Chris, from Biddulph, first joined the force in November 1990 after a neighbour knocked on his door and asked for a 50p contribution towards Neighbourhood Watch signs on lampposts.
He said: “When I was living in Cheadle, a neighbour asked for 50p to put towards some signs so I gave him £1. While he was on my doorstep, he asked if I’d want to join the police but I said no because I was too busy. He then came back again and persuaded me to go to a church and speak to two officers about joining.
“I only went to the church because there was free tea and biscuits. I never wanted to join so I ate the biscuits and drank the tea and left after telling them I still wasn’t interested.
“A week later I got a letter asking me to attend an entrance exam for Specials. I said to my wife, I haven’t done an exam since I was in school so I’ll see if I can pass. I passed… and here we are today. I’ve loved it.”
The 61-year-old, who is also a Cadet leader in Longton, added: “I worked my way through the ranks and I’ve been in a lot of things within the police. I’ve been able to pass my knowledge on to both regular officers and the new specials. I’ve absolutely loved it.
“I spent 15 years on foot in Cheadle and the Moorlands and I loved every minute of it. I like walking and meeting the public – that’s how I’ve always liked to police.
“I enjoyed being out there in the community that I lived in and it showed people that we have a presence and provided some reassurance.
“In the 15 years I pounded the street I’ve met a lot of good, nice people – both in and outside the organisation.”
Chris retires from the Special Constabulary at the end of the month and has plans to become a police support volunteer.
“Being a Special is being able to be out there, helping people in their hour of need. Whether that was locking people up, trying to fix people’s cars who were in need or just visiting a scene to reassure.”
Simon, the Special Constabulary’s former Chief Officer and Deputy Chief Officer for seven years, joined the force in 1991 after spending a year at Hertfordshire Police.
He said: “I joined the specials because I had an interest in becoming a regular police officer but I enjoyed my choice of career working within IT too much. Being a Special allowed me to have the best of both worlds.
“Being a Special Constable allows you to support and protect some of the most vulnerable people in society.”
Simon has worked in Burton-on-Trent, Lichfield and Tamworth during his time on the beat as a Special.
He added: “The most interesting work I did was as a Special Sergeant in East Staffordshire where I was leading a covert observation team.
“I’ve also worked with a number of national groups including the College of Policing in the development of national strategies supporting greater use of the Special Constabulary throughout England and Wales.”
The two were given their awards at a ceremony on 10 March.