Back on the beat

One of West Midlands Police's most senior officers has outlined his retirement plans after 30 years serving the get back on the beat as a volunteer officer!

Iain O'Brien retired on 2 December last year from his Chief Superintendent role heading up the National Ballistic Intelligence Service (NABIS) in Birmingham - the specialist unit tackling gun crime in the UK.

It capped a career that's seen him work in teams ranging from neighbourhood policing and CID to bringing down organised crime gangs and managing West Midlands Police's covert intelligence teams, including the force negotiators.

After three decades on duty no-one would begrudge Iain a relaxing retirement - but putting his feet up is the last thing on his mind as within three days of standing down he'd signed up with the Special Constabulary!

Speaking from his home in Walsall he said: "If truth be told joining the Specials hadn't been on my radar until a few weeks before I retired. I was watching my son play football on a Sunday afternoon when I was approached by people who know I was a police officer to tell me about a burglary taking place on a factory complex nearby. 

"I made a few phone calls and shortly after three people were arrested thanks to excellent work by local officers. It was this event that really got me thinking about volunteering as a special. Once I delved into the Specials and spoke to the Commandant it wasn't a difficult decision."

Iain joined the Met Police in 1984 working in the capital's north and east boroughs before heading to the West Midlands six years later where he was promoted to Inspector in Wolverhampton.

He went into CID and Crime Support working on murder, kidnap and organised crime cases - investigations that took him to Europe, Pakistan and South Africa - and in 2004 became a Chief Inspector in police intelligence.

In 2012 he became the lead for West Midlands Police's covert operations until moving to lead NABIS.

Iain, who will join the volunteer constabulary as a Special Inspector, added: "I'm looking forward to working with a new team and will have a lot to learn about the dynamics of working as a Special.

"I'm planning to undertake the minimum four hours per week initially and will see how best my knowledge and skills can help - but I may well increase that in the future. I find it inspiring that you have a group of volunteers willing to support policing by giving up their own time, so if I can help the team to do this more effectively then that's rewarding for me."

Mike Rogers, Chief Officer for West Midlands Police Special Constabulary, described Iain's appointment as a real coup for the force.

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