20 Nov Officer to re-live his 30 year career during last shift at Essex Police
A retiring police officer will re-live his 30 year career during his last shift at Essex Police.
Pc Paul Gridley, who works as flight crew on the police helicopter, took a trip down memory lane to visit his former workplace.
Throughout his career, Paul, known to his colleagues as Gridders, has worked as a road policing officer, driving instructor and firearms officer amongst other roles.
He re-lived his career by visiting the stations and bases where he’s worked, trying on some of the uniforms he has worn over the years and remembering some of his career highlights.
“I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of my career and would do it all over again,” said Paul who was inspired to join Essex Police in October 1986 aged 18 by his uncle Don.
He said: “Don spent more than 40 years with the Metropolitan Police Service as a flying Squad Scenes of Crime officer and I always looked up to him. I think it was his influence that led me to consider the police as a career from a young age.”
After completing his training at a training centre in Ashford, Kent, Paul was posted to Rayleigh police station where most of his duties included foot or cycle patrol.
He moved onto a shift at Leigh on Sea just after the hurricane of 1987 which devastated many seafront homes and buildings.
“Here I made my new and lifelong friends” he said “as well as being knocked over by a stolen car that has been pursued all the way from Maldon and then rammed our police car!”
Two years later, Paul was posted to Southend police station as a junior Pc and trained to drive police vehicles including the local ‘area car’ deployed to serious incidents requiring a fast response.
He said: “Incidents there were varied and often serious including a firearms incident where I found myself facing the wrong end of what turned out to be a loaded double barrelled shotgun. Fortunately it all ended peacefully and I lived to tell the tale!”
After setting up his first home in the area, ‘Gridders’, moved onto a shift at Shoeburyness where he took delivery of a shiny new Ford Sierra Sapphire patrol car.
Paul can still remember the registration plate to this day and recently managed to trace the car to an enthusiast in Birmingham. The car was purchased at auction and restored to its former police glory.
During his time at Southend, Paul went on an attachment with road policing officers in Rayleigh.
“We immediately went on a life-saving blue light ambulance escort to London,” he said. “I was convinced that this was the way I wanted to help society and requested a transfer to traffic. When the phone call came, it came with a small but significant caveat – ‘are you prepared to do a firearms course?”