by Rowan Liptrot
A SADDLEWORTH police officer says he feels as “truly privileged” to be serving the force now as when he signed up 25 years ago.
PC Lee Cullen, who is based at Uppermill Police Station, marked his quarter of a century with Greater Manchester Police last November.
He revealed the Police Service was always a career he aspired to and in November 1991 he started at the GMP Training school in Prestwich.
Initially based in Failsworth, PC Cullen remembers his first arrest involving a violent shop lifter.
He recounts: “I knew the caution off by heart and said it many times in training but to be there in a real situation was nerve wracking.
“I didn’t want to fluff my lines in front of my eagle-eyed tutor constable and luckily all went well and I had felt my first collar.”
He also recalls a vivid memory during his time with the Tactical Aid Unit.
“I was on a team that covered Manchester City Centre and was only 200m away when the Manchester bomb went off in 1996,” he said.
“My team was covering the EURO 96 and we were deployed in the city monitoring the fan zones.
“Our Sergeant said a device had been found and a code passed by the IRA had been verified, we then all bussed up and sped towards the city centre”.
Over the last 11 years, PC Cullen has been working in various roles in Oldham from being a dog handler to being on response teams dealing with 999 calls and high incidents.
From 2014, he was neighbourhood officer for Failsworth which he considers the most satisfying period of his service to date, feeling like he was “making a difference”.
The time saw the bobby set up the Failsworth Youth Zone which drew around 150 youths off the streets and helped to reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.
Now in Uppermill on his final post, he reflects “being a police officer was as I expected – we see the very best of human nature but also the worst side which can be challenging day in, day out.
“When I joined the service I truly felt privileged and I knew back then, as I do now, that I would complete the 30 years.”