A STALWART of the police force who retired as a special constable after nearly five decades has been honoured for his award-laden career.
Peter Boland, 65, who works as a support driver for Police Scotland, retired this June from his voluntary position after 45 years.
He was presented with two engraved crystal tumblers by Chief Superintendent Jeanette McDiarmid in a ceremony earlier this month held at Dalkeith Police Station.
Mr Boland’s career wasn’t always spent helping people on the streets.
A native of Midlothian, he was working as a yard foreman for a pre-cast concrete company called Jack Young when a colleague mentioned that he was a special constable. It was then that Mr Boland decided to get involved.
He said: “I wanted to do something for the community I was living in after I moved to Bonnyrigg when I got married.”
He spent the majority of his police career working in Bonnyrigg.
His senior, Ms McDiarmid described him as “a friendly and reassuring face while on patrol”.
While in uniform, he racked up an impressive collection of merits. A particular defining moment in Mr Boland’s working life came in 2001 when he was given an MBE at Buckingham Palace for the thousands of hours of service he had given to the community.
On top of that, he received two chief constable’s commendations for bravery and composure.
In 1996, while attending a report of a break-in and burglary, Mr Boland disarmed a man carrying a knife.
In 2005, he subdued an intoxicated man who was also carrying a knife.
Mr Boland is modest about the incidents, saying: “It’s just something you don’t think about at the time, you just do what comes naturally.”
Yet, despite some scary moments, Mr Boland has loved his time in uniform. He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being a special, it has been a big part of my life for so long and I will miss all the people I have worked with.
“It was exciting every weekend, with different things happening and being able to help a lot of people.”
He plans to opt for a quieter life and move to Wales with his wife Avril, where his daughters and seven grandchildren live.
Until then, he is continuing his day job as a support driver for Police Scotland until October.
Ms McDiarmid said: “For any employee to spend more than 40 years within an organisation is a remarkable achievement. However, for Peter to have given so much of his life to the special constables and to have served with such distinction is testament to his wonderful character.
“His colleagues within the full-time ranks speak very highly of Peter and his contribution to policing.”