Farewell to Sheffield police officer who masterminded Olympic torch relay through South Yorkshire

Inspector Neil Mutch with the Olympic torch (SYP)
Inspector Neil Mutch with the Olympic torch (SYP)
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He has protected the Queen in Sheffield and ensured the Olympic torch made it safely through South Yorkshire.

But after nearly 30 years with South Yorkshire Police, including some 20 years working in Sheffield city centre, Inspector Neil Mutch has called it a day.

Inspector Neil Mutch joined South Yorkshire Police back in 1988 (SYP)

Inspector Neil Mutch joined South Yorkshire Police back in 1988 (SYP)

Inspector Mutch joined the force as a PC in 1988 and worked as a bobby on the beat before becoming a sergeant in the city centre in 1995.

He later worked as a plain clothes officer, dealing with assaults in Sheffield's pubs, clubs and other licensed premises, and then became an inspector on the city centre policing team.

Neil helped coordinate the Olympic Torch relay through South Yorkshire ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, which he described as one of his career highlights.

"To be a part of something that special, knowing you did your bit to make sure things ran smoothly, and to contribute to this piece of history for the region, that’s definitely a highlight," he said.

Neil was also in charge of security when the Queen visited Sheffield in 2015 for a Maundy Thursday service at Sheffield Cathedral, and was later invited to the Buckingham Palace garden party as a thank you for his efforts.

But he told how those pleasures were counterbalanced by the demands of the job, which meant he had missed birthdays, Christmases and New Year celebrations with the family.

"It can be difficult but I’ve loved it – I’ve been a part of some really special events for the region and I’ve played a part in keeping the city centre safe," he said.

Neil, who earlier this year picked up the Lifetime Achievement gong at the Sheffield Awards, said he plans to spend some quality time with his family before 'maybe trying to find something else to do to keep me occupied'.

Neil's last day on the force was Thursday, and he is being replaced in the role at Snig Hill police station by Inspector Matt Collings.