A NEIGHBOURHOOD police officer from Woodley said he is ‘chuffed’ to have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
PC Les Eke, who is also the Schools Officer for Wokingham, will receive the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service.
Elsewhere in Thames Valley Police (TVP), Dr Steven Chase, the force’s Director of People, will receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
PC Eke started working for TVP in 1984, based in Reading before moving to Woodley as a neighbourhood police officer. He became schools officer for Wokingham in 1996, a role he has held ever since and is now a familiar face with children and young people at schools and educational establishments in the local area.
His work has been incorporated into the national ‘Safer Schools Partnership’ role, and PC Eke has spearheaded effective communication between the police and young people by helping to design a number of courses for the Duke of Edinburgh to provide them with an understanding of policing principles. The courses have now been running for nearly 18 years at no cost to the students as he volunteers his own time to the project.
During 2010 PC Eke was instrumental in the Autism Spectrum Alert Card scheme in Berkshire. The alert card scheme provides people with autism with a way of informing law enforcement agencies and other organisations in circumstances when communication can be difficult. He is currently in the process of designing and implementing additional initiatives to work with young people in order to support those in a vulnerable situation and is working on a partnership response to help pupils with cyber bullying.
He said: “I’m absolutely chuffed to receive the Queen’s Police Medal. I know how much of an achievement this is to receive and I think there are far more worthy people.
“I would like to thank Sgt Mark Smith, my supervisor until two months ago, who has always supported me. My role includes dealing with minor crimes involving young people and helping young people to recognise mistakes they may have made to prevent future offending.
“My role is like a neighbourhood police officer however my ‘neighbourhood’ is schools. Outside of work I am a youth worker and I’m also involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award so it has been nice to have a job which also allows me to incorporate my hobby of working with young people.”
Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police Francis Habgood said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Steven and Les have been recognised in this year’s New Year Honours. Steven is an outstanding Director of People and is a forward thinking inspirational leader who displays the highest levels of professionalism, ultimately working to improve the service our officers, staff and volunteers provide to the public. As well as his work in Thames Valley he has led many national initiatives and advises and supports colleagues in other forces.
“PC Les Eke has worked tirelessly for the past two decades, sacrificing all his available time as a Schools Officer to inspire young people within the communities he serves. He has taken on far more work than his role as Schools Officer and has become the focal point of youth engagement locally. He has been the architect of many projects and initiatives which have made a real difference to the lives of local youngsters. Through his boundless energy he has delivered a whole array of projects which have motivated young people to develop their own abilities. I’m exceptionally proud of them both and their many achievements.”