MBE awarded to outstanding Special Chief Officer in New Year’s Honour’s list
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Special Constabulary Chief Officer Mike Walmsley has been awarded an MBE for his commitment and dedication to the role and how he has inspired others to continue in their support of GMP.
Mike has been a special officer since 2003, after being inspired by his father who was a full-time officer at GMP. Sadly Mike’s dad passed away earlier this year and didn’t get to hear of his son being awarded an MBE. “My dad served with GMP for 30 years and retired in 2001, finishing up as a Detective Sergeant in covert operations. I drew inspiration from him, but also had a shared interest in Construction Management. I started as a special while at University and now I get to enjoy both by doing them alongside each other. I now fit it in around my full-time job and look forward to the variety of work that means no two days are ever the same. I am very fortunate that my employer also supports my role in GMP and gives me additional leave.”
As well as holding down a full-time job as an Operations Manager for Willmott Dixon Construction and being a special, Mike is also a Trustee of Birtenshaw, a charity in Bolton which provides a range of care and education services for children and young adults. “I enjoy what I do and get great satisfaction from it. My role as Chief Officer is on a five-year tenure; last year this was extended for another five years so I’m looking forward to being part of GMP for the foreseeable future.”
During the last six years as the lead, Mike has come across many incidents but one in particular stands out to him and continues to be a reminder to why he’s inspired to continue being a special. “The day after the Manchester Arena bomb, 197 specials turned up for duty to support the community. To witness the commitment from our volunteers, wanting to change their own plans and dedicate themselves to the role was humbling. It reinforced to me what an amazing team of people we have and I’m proud to lead them in all that we do. As a special, I just try to do the best for the people and help support other specials. My officers wear the same uniform, have the same powers and face the same risks as regular officers.”
A notification of an MBE comes in the form of a letter through the post so is usually unexpected. This was the case when Mike received his through the letterbox and he couldn’t have been more shocked. “I was overwhelmed when I read the letter and couldn’t believe it. My emotions were also mixed with sadness as I wanted to call my dad with the good news. It’s a shame he isn’t here to hear the news but I know he would have been as excited as I am. My mum and wife were both as overwhelmed as I was, with my mum bursting into tears after she heard the news. The public announcement of my MBE comes the night before my wife’s 40th birthday, so explaining to her that I’m not intentionally stealing her thunder is proving difficult! “I’m immensely proud to lead such a committed team of officers and this award is a reflection on the whole team and the dedication of the people I work with.”