Eric Edwin joined the force in November 1978 aged just 18 years old, and was the first black man to join the force. Almost 42 years later, as he prepares to retire, he has shared memories of his lengthy policing career – from beat bobby, to detective, covert cop and financial investigator, working in what Eric himself describes as “one strong happy family”.
Beginning his career as a beat officer on the streets of Luton, and being brought up in the area, he understood the tensions that existed between the different communities in the town at the time.
Eric said: “I believe this gave me an advantage, as by being local I earned the trust of the local African Caribbean community, to work with them to solve problems. There’s no better way to give back to your local community than by helping to sort local issues.”
In the mid-80s Eric was seconded to police the picket lines of the miners’ strike in the north of the country, before returning home to Bedfordshire to work on The Fox enquiry, which made national headlines and gripped the country.
Following that, he joined CID, and then what was known as the South East Regional Crime Squad, where he specialised in covert policing, before joining the City of London Police.
In November 2008, Eric retired as a serving officer after 30 years, but that wasn’t the end of his police career.
Just one month later, he re-joined Bedfordshire Police as a civilian, specialising in financial investigations before joining the economic crime team at the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), where he saw out the remainder of his career.
Eric said: “It breaks my heart to be leaving the police after all these years. We are a family which, day in day out, put our lives on the line to protect the public, and ensure those who make other people’s lives a misery are brought to justice.
“It’s been an honour to have been part of this one strong, happy family, throughout my journey.”
Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst said: “Eric has been a pivotal member of our policing family for as long as I can remember, and he will be much missed.
“His story is a fantastic illustration of just what a career in policing can offer, and also why many of us joined.
“From patrolling the towns and villages, and making a difference in his own neighbourhood, as well as experiencing secondment to other force areas, becoming a detective, including all that covert working entails, and then, when others would think to retire, returning to his home force to specialise in a particular investigative field.
“I know you will join me in giving heartfelt thanks to Eric for his invaluable service, not only to policing, and to his home county, friends and colleagues, but also for inspiring generations of officers who came after him.”
If you are considering a career in policing, and like Eric, feel passionate about serving your local community, then we’d like to hear from you.
Visit our recruitment pages at www.bedfordshire.police.uk/careers