Prince Charles pays tribute to Norfolk police officers

The Prince of Wales praised the 'dedication and courage' of Norfolk police officers after he presented some with long service and good conduct medals today.

In a ceremony in the ballroom at Sandringham House, Prince Charles said the public should never take police officers for granted particularly during turbulent times.

The heir to the British throne said: 'I'm so glad to have this opportunity to give medals and certificates to so many of you.

'I can't tell you how proud it makes me to be able to do this and congratulate and pay tribute to you all.'

He later joked: 'Having met so many of you today, I just hope there are still enough of you left manning posts around the county.'

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There were 46 medal recipients from Norfolk Police, ranging from officers to police staff and members of the special constabulary.

Referring to the protection the force provides to the royals in Norfolk, he said: 'We depend so much here at Sandringham on all your wonderful service, often in the middle of the night, in pouring rain and being savaged by corgis now and again.'

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The Prince added: 'These are challenging times for this constabulary as it looks to make budget cuts and with officers facing changes to their pensions.

'But somehow you overcome all these challenges by providing the public with wonderful service and that service should not be taken for granted. I certainly do not take it for granted.'

Among those receiving medals was Inspector Gary Crowther, who has worked in King's Lynn, Swaffham, Thetford, Yarmouth, Norwich and force headquarters.

He said: 'Some of the most satisfying areas of my work have been working on response duties, particularly areas like high risk missing people but I'm just proud to carry out my day-to-day role as best as I can.

'Coming to Sandringham is a privilege and to receive this medal from a member of the royal family is a brilliant bonus.

'Prince Charles was very friendly and we spoke about the special constabulary and how lucky we are to be supported by them.'

Special Sergeant Bob Dye, from King's Lynn, who has served for 29 years and contributed more than 9,000 voluntary hours, also received a long service medal.

He said: 'Nowadays I'm training new recruits and passing on the benefit of my experience which I really enjoy. My advice to any new officers is to be patient and not to jump into things.

'It is a great honour to be here and having this event at Sandringham and receiving a medal from Prince Charles made it all the more special.'

To qualify for long service and good conduct medals officers must have served for 20 years while special constabulary officers are honoured for nine years 'willing and competent' service. Police staff are also awarded a certificate for 20 years loyal service.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: 'To be able to hold such an important constabulary event at Sandringham House with the Prince presenting the medals is a privilege and honour.

'We hope that His Royal Highness enjoyed the event and the chances to meet officers and staff.

'These events are always a great pleasure to be part of and not only provide an opportunity to show appreciation to the individuals receiving them, but also to the families and friends who have supported them in their work over many years.'

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