The Chief Officer of Nottinghamshire Special Constabulary, John Pritchard, has announced his retirement.
Mr Pritchard joined the constabulary on 6 November 1967 and will retire on 30 June 2012 after more than 44 years of service.
Over the years he has been stationed at Stapleford, Meadows, Beeston, Mansfield, Carlton and force headquarters.
After nine years as a Special Constable, Mr Pritchard was promoted to Sergeant, then to Inspector in 1981. In 1995 he was again promoted to Commandant and then quickly rose through the ranks to make Chief Officer in 2005.
Mr Pritchard achieved all this while enjoying a successful career in the manufacturing industry, becoming Deputy Group Managing Director of a group of companies.
Mr Pritchard said that over the years, the role of a Special has changed significantly: “When I first joined, Specials were used primarily for parades, general patrols and community events. We were issued with second-hand uniforms and had very limited training.
“Now, Specials are an integral and respected part of the force. They are well trained, use the same equipment as their full-time colleagues, and are far better able to make a significant contribution to keeping Nottinghamshire safe.”
In many respects Mr Pritchard has helped to drive these changes. He has led the national negotiations to try to open up Police Federation membership to Specials; a proposal which he hopes will finally be accepted at the Federation’s next conference in May 2012.
Mr Pritchard has also been an active member of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers. In 2009 he was elected to represent the East Midlands region and a year later he was elected as Deputy Chair.
When reflecting on his 44 years of service, Mr Pritchard said: “There have been so many memorable moments of my career. I remember making some very good arrests in my younger days, but things were different back then: we had to make a point using phone kiosks at pre-determined times, because there were no such things as radios.
“Being a Special has given me the opportunity to really make a difference to people’s lives, but now the time is right for someone else to take the reigns.”
Chief Constable Julia Hodson said: “John has dedicated years of his life to helping to keep Nottinghamshire safe, and his commitment and passion will be sorely missed. When he retires, he will leave a totally transformed Special Constabulary thanks to the influence he has had both locally and nationally.
“Forty-four years of service is an incredible achievement. We are very grateful for John’s loyalty, and proud of what he has achieved over the years.”
Having retired from his full-time job 18 months ago, Mr Pritchard is now looking forward to focusing on his hobbies and interests, including playing tennis, supporting Notts County and compering the Bestwood Male Voice Choir.
And life is not set to slow down as he has just written his third book, called ‘More quips, quotes and jokes by the famous and the unknown’. The book is already selling well and the proceeds will be donated to his choir, to help them continue their performances and charity work.