Proud moment as COPS’ Trustee awarded MBE

Posted on June 16, 2014 | Category :Uncategorized | No Comments

Ch Supt Robert Atkin MBE

A TRUSTEE from Care of Police Survivors is “over the moon” after being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Ch Supt Robert Atkin, of the Met, organises the Police Unity Tour bike ride which culminates at COPS Survivors’ Weekend. He has been involved with the charity since its inception.

See below/click here to see the full interview with Robert.

How are you feeling after being awarded the MBE?

It’s a life changing event really. I was absolutely over the moon to get the notification that I had been nominated and then to see it in the press and on the internet over the weekend really brought it home. It was a very proud moment for me and the family.

What did you get the nomination for?

For my continued support to Care of Police Survivors which is a really long term piece of work I have been doing. I have been involved with the charity for years since when Jim McNulty [COPS co-founder] first took a group of officers over to the US to see what they do on Police Memorial Week and on seeing what they do in the States I really knew it was something that we needed to do in the UK. And that has taken form over many years in terms of starting with the Police Memorial Weekend 11 years ago, supporting Met Police family members by making sure they got taken up to the weekend in our historical vehicle fleet and then I kept returning to Washington, seeing the Police Unity tour come in every year which raises millions of dollars for their charities in the US – I had a really good opportunity to ride with the American Police Unity Tour which I really thought would be a good thing to start in the UK.

What is the Police Unity Tour?

It is quite simple; the motto is “We ride for those who died” and it is law enforcement officers, family of officers who have been killed on duty and police staff donning the lycra and the Police Unity Tour top and riding from the National Police Memorial at the Mall up to Staffordshire, through communities. It is to raise much-needed funds for COPS and all our money gets given to the charity and to raise awareness of officers that die in the line of duty with communities and thirdly it is to make sure that sense of pride in the police service is felt.

Involved in the ride this year will be more survivors than ever before. How important is that?

We have found that having survivors on the ride is really important because officers and other people taking part get to talk to them, find out who they are and their story and the next really important bit is when the officers get to meet the families either at Hinckley [where family members stay before the memorial service] or at the Memorial. Every officer rides in memory of a fallen officer and they are given a bracelet with that officer’s name, their force and their last date of duty engraved within it. There is nothing better than meeting the family member and handing over the bracelet and expressing that you are doing the ride in memory of the officer and the feelings that that officer has never been forgotten. Last year we met families that had lost family members in the 1970s and to have an officer ride today remember their loved one is really important for them.

Why in your view is COPS as a charity so important?

Firstly it is made up of families who have been through the traumatic event of losing a loved one so who better to support other family members than those who have been through that experience? And the second is that within policing, the organisation gives really good support for the first year but [after that] sometimes that support isn’t as strong as it could be. It is really important that family members get that continuing support. Through COPS they can do that through the yearly Memorial Service, the events that are put on by COPS and really it is a very strong network. Particularly when they are really feeling down, they have always got someone to ring who has been through the same experience themselves.

Why did you get involved?

In my service, having been unfortunate enough to lose colleagues that I have worked with, I just think it’s really important that we never forget our fallen officers and the sacrifices they have made in the protection of others and also that Annual Remembrance Service – bring the families together – it is just such a powerful event and for the families its powerful in that they know they are not alone and its powerful to the police service to remind chief constables of the losses that have been made.

Give us a rundown of your career.

I have been in the police service for 20 years. I started out as a beat constable in South London in Plumstead in Woolwich, I became a traffic officer and then as a sergeant I worked in Tower Hamlets in the East End, then as an inspector I worked with the commissioner as one of his staff officers and then went to Bromley in South London running response and neighbourhood policing. Then as a chief inspector I have ran the force control room then went onto firearms. As a superintendent I have worked at Croydon Borough and as a chief superintendent I am in charge of strategic learning in the Met.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’d just like to add my personal thanks to Sue Brace [COPS President] and the other Trustees who nominated me for this award. It is the absolute achievement of a lifetime and being in a disciplined service where you achieve ranks, being awarded the MBE is just the pinnacle of my career really.

When you receive the MBE from a member of the Royal Family will you be wearing a uniform or your lycra?

I will definitely be wearing my uniform!

 

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