Special constable's 45 years' service - after men tried to beat him up in street
PUTTING your life on the line as member of the police force is not for the faint-hearted.
But Greater Manchester Police’s longest ever serving special constable Linden Riley has enjoyed every minute of the 45 years he has given to his community.
Mr Riley, aged 66, from Bolton, was inspired to work as a special constable after a fending off would-be attackers when he was walking home.
He said: “I was about 18 or 19 and two men stopped me and asked for a light for a cigarette. I said I didn’t have one and they wanted a scrap. I thought this could happen to anyone and I thought joining the police might be helpful so I could assist people who might come across a similar thing.”
Mr Riley, a retired engineer and photographer, has never looked back after becoming a special in May, 1968 and has achieved three police commendations for his efforts. He was recognised for his work for the police in preparation for major events in Manchester.
Special constables have the same powers as police officers but work on a voluntary basis.
He has seen the force change over the years.
Mr Riley said: “I started off with a whistle and a wooden truncheon and it was between one or two years after I joined that we first started using radios. We had very smart uniforms with detachable collars. I have used at least three different types of radios over the years. The radios now can tell where you are whereas they didn’t used to know where you were. The law abiding people have always been very nice.”
He believes there are more serious crimes now but also that not as many cars are stolen as they were 15 years ago.
During his years of service he has saved a woman’s life in the 1970s after she was thumped in the throat by her brother in Bolton.
Mr Riley said: “I was on duty in Deane and the woman, who was about 18, wasn’t breathing. I gave her the kiss of life. The ambulance was going to be about 20 minutes so we put her in the police car. I never saw her again but she lived.”
His voluntary work has been recognised with an invite to the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2010 where he even shared a short conversation with the Duke of Edinburgh.
Highlights of his work have included working for the police during the Olympics where he covered football in Manchester; the Commonwealth Games in 2002; carrying the GMP banner in the Manchester Day Parade earlier this year; covering Remembrance Sunday in Bolton town centre most years, and seeing numerous celebr-ities.
Mr Riley has escorted Ken Dodd, met MP Theresa May, George Best and Princess Diana when she visited Bolton Hospice in 1993.
He has also enjoyed supporting police oper-ations, including Operation Alloy, which cracks down on metal theft.
Despite clocking up more than 40 years of voluntary work for his hometown he has no intention of hanging up his uniform and hopes to continue his work for as long as possible.
And Mr Riley advised anybody interested in becoming a police officer to join the specials.
He said: “I enjoy meeting lots of nice people and sorting out the bad people. I always see it as a possibility. It has also helped me to use a computer as I was a bit of a dinosaur with that.
“Joining the specials is a good stepping stone if you are thinking about joining the police force. You get first aid training, new skills and some learn advanced driving skills.”
For more information about GMP’s police specials visit gmp.police.uk
Comments are closed on this article.