A mounted police officer who has served with South Yorkshire Police for more than four decades is hanging up the reins.
PC Paul Brown, the force’s longest serving officer, has retired after completing 42 years with the force – 32 of those in the mounted section.
He joined the force in 1973 as a cadet and was sworn in as a constable on his 19th birthday.
Now as he nears his 60th birthday he is standing down from the force and saying goodbye to his trusty steed Whirlow.
But keen to keep serving South Yorkshire he is planning on becoming a Special Constable, hoping to put his experience to good use helping out in the mounted section.
He said: “Looking back I could never have imagined where policing would take me. Taking the riding course and joining the mounted section, was like a duck taking to water. I really found my place in the force.
“Nobody else has achieved that length of service in the same department and I have been lucky enough to be paid for a job I loved doing.
“I have decided to come back as a special constable as a reserve specialist to help out in the mounted section and I’ll still be riding Whirlow when I’m in.”
PC Brown met his wife Tracey at work 19 years ago. She is also a mounted officer.
“We only worked together a handful of times during our years on the mounted section but we have a shared interest and keep horses at home and compete together regularly,” he said.
Paul said one of his first jobs was to investigate the theft of a stolen lighter.
“One of my first jobs was to investigate the theft of a cigarette lighter from the landlord of a pub. I made the arrest and recovered the lighter,” he said.
“I got friendly with the family and still call in every now and again to see how they are getting on.
“Sadly, the landlord died some years back and I was amazed to find he had left me the lighter. It made me realise the impact we have on people’s lives.”
He said he has seen lots of changes during his policing career, including advances in technology.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is the sense of belonging to something. The police family continues to be important but I think we used to be a lot closer than we are today,” he said.
During Paul’s 32 years with the mounted section, he has regularly represented the force at equestrian events and has just received the National British overall Master at Arms trophy for the sixth consecutive year.
Asked about his time with the force he said: “I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”