July 30 2014 Latest news:
by Laura Burnip
Saturday, June 21, 2014
A Havering dad who has been serving and protecting the community for 33 years has been honoured by the Queen.
John Giles first volunteered as a special constable when he was just a teenager, planning to join the force as a full-time recruit.
But after deciding he wanted to continue in his career working for Havering Council’s environmental health department, John, now 52, chose to continue as a volunteer.
And last week John’s dedication was officially recognised, when he was awarded the British Empire Medal for voluntary service to the community and young people in Havering.
He said: “I was extremely surprised. I didn’t expect it. I enjoy what I do.
“Originally I wanted to join the police, but I quite enjoyed what I was doing at the council.
“They have fully supported me to do it.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, being part of the community and getting involved.
“That’s why I’ve continued to do it. It’s really good fun.”
John said the role of a special constable was vastly different now from when he had first joined up.
“It has changed dramatically,” he said.
“The specials are more and more involved in everything.”
For the past eight years, John has been heavily involved with the Havering Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC).
The cadet force, which is open for boys and girls aged 13 to 18, meet at Gaynes School in Upminster on Thursdays between 7pm and 10pm.
The Met Police initiative gives youngsters a chance to support the police by helping at events such as the marathon, the Royal Wedding and Remembrance Day.
“They get to see a lot of things the public don’t get to see,” said John, whose children Luke, 22, and Danielle, 25, were both police cadets, with Luke going on to join the police full-time.
“A lot of them go on to join the police force.
“They really enjoy it.”
To find out more about joining the VPC unit, contact Matt Ingram 01708 779284.