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A POLICE officer – who first applied to join Essex Police as a nine-year-old boy – is now retiring, aged 49, after 30 years of service.
Steve Joynes has spent most of his career with Essex Police working in the Rochford area, where he lives.
In his entire career, he has only ever taken eight days off sick.
He spent more than 29 years as a PC, but the last six months of his career as an Acting Sergeant.
Steve described the police force as ‘a massive family’ and said he may one day return in a different role, commenting: “It’s a fantastic job with fantastic colleagues.”
The married father-of-two has received two commendations – one in 1999 for helping a man who collapsed with a severe asthma attack, and one in 2005 for his dedication to Hockley, where he regularly organised events for young people.
In 2007, he was named Citizen of the Year for ‘building an excellent rapport’ with teenagers in Hockley and Hawkwell.
He said his fascination with the police force had begun as a toddler.
“I was three and waiting with my mum to pick my brother up from school,” he recalled. “There was a police motorbike there. I was fascinated, so the officer picked me up and put me on the bike. It was like a light switch had been turned on. From then on, being a police officer was what I always wanted to do.”
As a boy, Steve would wear his toy police helmet in bed and ride a scooter decorated with a police logo.
At age nine, when he saw an Essex Police recruitment advert in his local paper, he filled in the application form and sent it off.
The Chief Constable at the time, Robert Bunyard, wrote him a reply. It read: “It is nice to know that there are future recruits who are already taking an interest in the police service.
“It may seem a long time before you can join the police but it will soon pass and in the meantime there is plenty you can do to prepare yourself.
“You must do your best at school, you must learn to help people and you must earn a reputation as a well-balanced, thoughtful young man.
“This is the sort of person who makes the best policeman, and I am sure you would want to be a very good policeman.”
Mr Bunyard arranged for two officers to visit Steve, who gave him a toy police car – which he still has.
After passing his O-Levels at Westcliff High School for Boys, Steve joined the police at age 19. His first posting was in Rayleigh, where he moved into a house opposite the police station.
He spent most of his career in Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford, apart from some short spells in the force control room and in response.
Steve’s 17-year-old daughter Eloise is now planning to become a police officer, already serving as a deputy head police cadet for Rochford and Castle Point.
She even joined her father on his last night of patrol.
Steve said: “Eloise is a chip off the old block and wants to apply as soon as she’s old enough.”