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Monday, December 5, 2016

End of Watch for one of London's Finest...

A few years ago the Houston Police Department's oldest officer, Edward Thomas, retired and in honor of the man, they named the police headquarters after the man. Constable Barnes hasn't quite gone that long (63 years for Officer Thomas) but still a long time on The Watch.

Britain's oldest policeman retires at 66 after 50,000 miles on the beat and 1,300 arrests

Cornell Barnes - who is known as Barney - has been a police constable since he joined West Midlands Police at the age of 41 in 1990.

He has become a popular figure in the Hillfields area of Coventry, West Midlands, after spending almost three decades working to keep the neighbourhood safe.

The grandfather of two has helped put hundreds of criminals behind bars, arresting an average of 50 each year - around 1,300 in his career.

He has covered an estimated 50,000 miles on foot patrol during his 26 years working for the force.

Last year, he also received the prestigious Good Citizens award from Birmingham City Council. But the well-liked officer is finally hanging up his handcuffs after he retired from the force on Tuesday.

Pc Barnes, from Coventry, said: "I have enjoyed the diversity of the role and being able to make a difference. There is nothing nicer than seeing an appreciative smile. I feel proud of what I have achieved and being awarded the MBE was an unbelievable moment.

"In the early days I used to everything on foot but as you get older and wiser I used to use the car and drive to certain areas then walk around.

"I still used to go through three pairs of good shoes every year though. I will miss the camaraderie of the role, the people and my area of Hillfields.

"My overriding emotion is I can hold my head up high and say I did what I could to improve lives and didn't let people down."

He then spent 25 years serving around the world as an infantry soldier with the Yorkshire Regiment, including eight tours of Northern Ireland, before joining West Midlands Police in 1990.

The father of four said he decided to become a beat officer to "make a difference by reforming troubled teens" and "improving the relationship between youngsters and the police".

But he is worried about the impact Government cuts will have on policing in the local communities.

Pc Barnes added: "These days, the way the cuts are coming in we are having to concentrate on putting fires out.

"If you're not there on the ground with the local people you will not have the information. You have got to know people intimately.

"If it hadn't been for the terror attacks in France, I strongly believe we would have lost neighbourhood policing by now.

"We certainly would have lost the PCSOs who are our eyes and ears. It is worrying for the future."..

Pc Barnes, here's to your well deserved and pleasant retirement. I am hopeful to link up with some police friends in England in the near future. Perhaps we can link up and I can have the honor of buying you a drink at the club.

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