Paul celebrates Special occasion

THE first Asian special constable in Hertfordshire has been awarded an MBE recognising 36 years of service to the police and his community. Mahesh Thapar, 54, from Hitchin, known by his friends and colleagues as Paul, was recognised in the Queen s birthda

THE first Asian special constable in Hertfordshire has been awarded an MBE recognising 36 years of service to the police and his community.

Mahesh Thapar, 54, from Hitchin, known by his friends and colleagues as Paul, was recognised in the Queen's birthday honours last month for his service to Hitchin police and will receive his medal at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in November.

The award recognises his unstinting service to the police force he joined as a Special aged 18 in 1973.

Paul said: "I enjoy it as much today as I did the first day I joined. I love doing the job - giving something back to the community and helping others. It's about problem solving and it is so rewarding when a member of the public thanks you for your contribution.


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"I prefer being on the front line and I get a buzz from the busy nights. I've also been involved in recruitment, especially trying to encourage people from minority ethnic backgrounds to join us. I was the first Asian Special in Hertfordshire but I'm pleased to see a few more officers from minority backgrounds now."

Paul runs the Silver Moon pub on Bedford Road with his wife Nirmal and admits sometimes it is hard to get motivated after a long day, but he said: "Once I'm in uniform, I'm ready to work and make a difference. There is always something different to deal with and every day or night is as good as the next or the last.

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"The busy Friday and Saturday nights are the most challenging for me but also the most rewarding. I enjoy catching drink-drivers and preventing them from injuring themselves or someone else on the roads.

"I love sorting out people's problems and have a completely different sense of achievement and satisfaction that I don't get from my day job.

"Through this job I've learnt to think on my feet to deal with issues on a case by case basis and I enjoy working with our partner agencies. I've also had excellent training which has improved so much since when I began and was only required to work four hours a month.

"It has given me confidence in my day job and made me more flexible as a person and hopefully a better father and grandfather."

Paul has four children, Mark 31, twins Richard and Anthony, 28, and Kimberly, 21, and a grand-daughter, Yazmin aged seven.

Describing how he felt about going to Buckingham Palace and meeting the Queen he said: "I'm very excited about going there. I'm taking my colleagues from the police, all in uniform, and my family and friends. Although I think you're only allowed three inside - all the Specials will line up outside the Palace. We'll possibly come back and have a celebration at the pub.

"All the regulars are absolutely delighted. It's really quite an exciting thing for me. It was well advertised in the national press in India."

"I am thrilled to be getting an MBE for something I love doing and hope to continue to do for as long as I can. I'll be the oldest special constable in Hertfordshire!"

Hertfordshire special chief officer, Peter Mould, said: "Paul has provided excellent service to his local community as one of the longest serving Specials in the county and I am very pleased that his enormous contribution has been recognised nationally.

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