The Wolverhampton PCSO still smiling on the beat aged 70

A devoted PCSO from Wolverhampton celebrated his 70th birthday by patrolling the streets of his beloved beat.

Paul Richardson on the beat
Paul Richardson on the beat

Paul Richardson was one of the first police community support officers in the city and is still going strong decades on.

The award-winning officer has been a familiar face around the city centre since 2003 and has developed strong connections with retailers, shoppers and his colleagues.

So it was no surprise when he decided to spend his recent 70th birthday on duty, helping to keep the streets safe. His colleagues ensured Paul received a pre-shift birthday surprise by decorating the police station with messages and presenting him with a large cake.

The grandfather-of-four said: "The place to be for me was on the beat and my family were very supportive. They know how important this role is to me.

"I take great pride in being out on the streets to help prevent crime and ensure people can enjoy being in the city centre, whatever time of the day, without a fear of crime.

"I can be out until 3am some mornings but I would feel guilty if I wasn't out there with my team. It was quite emotional with all the goodwill shown to me on my birthday."

Paul's colleagues made him a special cake in celebration

PCSO Richardson initially combined being a removal worker with volunteering as a Special Constable based in Stourbridge during the 1990s.

It was during this time he received his first Chief Constable's Commendation for helping to defuse a large disorder involving up to 60 people where a loaded pistol was recovered.

After more than a decade as a Special he was alerted to new PCSO posts in Wolverhampton. He successfully applied and has been a full-time fixture with the force ever since.

PCSO Richardson has received numerous other individual and team awards during his time at West Midlands Police which has included using his local knowledge to identify and help arrest a suspected gunman in the city.

He said: "I have always loved serving the public and doing what I can to help them. I've met a lot of people in the city centre over the years and they know to come to me if they're having any issues.

"The officers and staff I work with are a big reason why I've always loved being a PCSO. There is a great camaraderie and I always say to new recruits they should enjoy and have a passion for the role."

His colleagues are certainly pleased to have him with them... and hopefully for some time yet!

Inspector Sophie Clement, from Wolverhampton Police, said: "Paul is a much-valued member of our team and has been for many, many years.

"He is a familiar and welcoming face within Wolverhampton city centre and works tirelessly to help others.

"He has a real passion for policing and is proof that age is just a number."

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