Suffolk volunteer officer celebrates three decades of helping communities
PUBLISHED: 10:44 09 January 2019
A Suffolk volunteer who has spent 30 years assisting police forces has been recognised by Suffolk police.
49-year-old Temporary Special Superintendent Paul Booker has now completed over three decades of service with Suffolk Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police in London.
Mr Booker began his career as a special constable for the Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard in 1989.
He said: “It was a very daunting experience, being only 18 and in front of so many highly decorated ranking officers.
“However, nothing prepared me for the first time I stepped out in full uniform with my new tunic and wooden truncheon.”
Mr Booker undertook a number of roles of at the Met helping with various large events.
After a decade in the role Mr Booker become a special sergeant.
In 2006, after 17 years with the Met, Mr Booker transferred to Suffolk Constabulary: “From the very first time I walked into Lowestoft Police Station, I felt at home as both the regulars and specials were very welcoming but like most other counties, Suffolk has its challenges.”
Mr Booker applied to become a sergeant and within the year, another opportunity came up and he was asked to become an inspector at Lowestoft. He said: “I was honoured and privileged to become a special inspector after 20 years. It also had a fundamental positive impact on my career as I was promoted to regional manager in my day job within the construction industry.”
For the past last 13 years, Mr Booker has been involved with recruitment evenings and tutoring new special constables. He said: “I found this to be a natural step, encouraging all specials to embrace their roles. So much so, that many of those volunteers have gone on to become regular officers.”
Mr Booker was previously been given a Stars of Suffolk Award for Outstanding Bravery, which he said was a very “humbling experience”. It was awarded following a serious accident he was involved in.
He said: “I was on duty as a passenger in a stationary police car, when a speeding drink driver crashed head-on into my passenger door at approximately 70 to 80mph. I sustained substantial injuries, which included various broken bones and internal injuries.”
After the accident, Mr Booker used a wheelchair for over three months and had to learn to walk again.
While still in recovery, he continued to organise many events in Lowestoft.
Karen Harris, specials, volunteers and cadets manager said: “Paul is a credit to Suffolk’s Special Constabulary. He is an amazing role model and offers his support to all of his officers and is extremely well-respected by everyone who knows and works with him.
“Paul also assists my team with the recruitment of new special constables and his enthusiasm, knowledge and experience shines through. He has a wonderful ability to engage with people from all walks of life, giving them a realistic view of what becoming a special constable is all about.”
Mr Booker said his supportive family played a big part in him sustaining a long career as a volunteer.
He said: “I would never have been able to complete three decades of service without the understanding and support from my friends and family.”