Association Vice President Paul Griffiths is raising money for National Police Memorial Day by cycling to every police HQ in England and Wales.
Covering more than 2200 miles and now aiming to raise £3000, Paul will be cycling three to four days per month and is inviting members and other colleagues and staff to join him along the route.
Here’s his latest blog ….
Day 23 (13/7) – Essex Police to Hertfordshire Police to Bedfordshire Police
Another nice day for cycling and I started off from Essex Headquarters with ACC Pippa Mills, Steve Ditchburn and others waving me off. The route to Hertfordshire was very pleasant, taking me through nice parks and canal bank routes.
I made good time to Herts Headquarters to be met by some of our members – Matt Nicholls, Richard Liversidge, other Supers and Jim from the PFEW. It was a good stop and a recharge for body and satnav!
The next stage was a less pleasant route through urban areas and along busy and congested roads. The route took me right through the centre of Luton – just over a decade following the murder of PC Jonathan Henry at that location. That night was the Police Bravery Awards and I thought about the bravery of PC Henry and the sacrifice he made to prevent harm to others.
Luton was bustling and I slogged the final miles to Bedfordshire Headquarters to meet Mark Lay and ACC Jacqueline Sebire. My accommodation for the evening was seven miles away and Mark joined me on his bike to guide me there for a well-deserved shower, feed and long sleep!
Day 24 (14/7) – Bedfordshire Police to Thames Valley Police to Civil Nuclear Constabulary and onto to Supers HQ at Pangbourne
It was an early start, ironically passing Mark Lay cycling in the opposite direction, back to work. The route was all countryside and with another fine day I made good progress.
I had to negotiate quite a few underpasses, bridges and roundabouts through Milton Keynes before getting back to tranquil countryside riding.
I arrived at TVP ahead of schedule to be met by one of our members Rory Freeman. My luck was in as CC Francis Habgood, Ian Miller and Nigel Green from ASCCO and a number of TVP Supers joined us for the obligatory photo at their HQ. It was a very warm reception and really appreciated.
Back in the saddle and heading to the last HQ of the day, cycling through the wonderful buildings of Oxford was fantastic and a countryside route took me to Culham to the HQ of Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
I was delighted to see CC Mike Griffiths and Tim and Mike from our Association. After a coffee and a catch up, I finished the last 18 miles of the day along gorgeous countryside to our base at Pangbourne. All done for the day and Eamonn, our Assistant Secretary, got the kettle on!
Day 25 (16/7) – Pangbourne to British Transport Police (London)
It was an early start again and the weather was again in my favour. Incredibly the whole route was along river and canal systems, right into the City.
Apart from a short stop to deal with a slow puncture, I was determined to get to BTP HQ as soon as I could. I was amazed that the route hardly touched roads and it was only the last twenty minutes of the whole day, that I had to follow roads and battle with the Sunday traffic.
It was great to reach HQ number 34 of 46 and grab a quick selfie before heading to Paddington to train it back to Pangbourne.
By this time I had completed a total of 1516 miles and spent 138 hours in the saddle!
Day 26 (31/7) – British Transport Police to City of London Police, Metropolitan Police Service and Kent Police, via College of Policing, NPCC and HMIC
The weekend prior to this I cycled with the Welsh Chapter of the Unity Tour, from Brecon to Staffordshire to support the COPS charity. A big thank you to the Met contingent for getting my luggage, bike and me back to London to pick up the route!
My start point was BTP HQ and I was greeted by Gareth and Gill for a morning coffee. Pointing me in the right direction, I set off for the short ride to the City of London Police HQ. I was joined there by Rachel Tuffin (on her Brompton bike!) from the College of Policing and also by Dan Kirk and Andy Northover – Met officers and colleagues of Keith Palmer on the Territorial Support Group.
We all met Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland who wished us all well on our travels and we cycled the very short route to the College of Policing to see the team there.
Leaving Rachel to carry on with her work, Dan, Andy and I travelled the short distance to New Scotland Yard – if only all the headquarters were this close to each other! Delighted to see Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackay and Simon, Rob and Penny from the Met Supers for an obligatory photo under the famous rotating sign. For the second occasion, Dan and Andy got a metallic sign with the call sign ‘U 435’ – a TSG challenge to get people to pose for a photo with it!
We then cycled the very short distance to Downing Street for a ‘tourist’ photo in front of Number 10 and then went to Parliament for a more poignant moment. We met Keith’s colleagues and paid tribute to him by his memorial plaque.
We then met with CC Sara Thornton – Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council – outside their offices. Out came the ‘U 435’ sign again! We then cycled around London centre to Buckingham Palace, the police memorial at Pall Mall before arriving at HMICFRS (a nicely flowing acronym – tripping off the tongue!). So pleased to catch up with CC Mike Cunningham (Inspector) and our member Jim Bartlett.
Our final stop in London was at the Home Office where a number of our colleagues and friends joined us for a photo and to wish us well on our trip to Kent. Whilst there, it was by fortune I saw CC Alex Marshall who was completing his final day in the service – best wishes for your retirement!
Now the serious cycling started and navigating through the busy streets of London was challenging. As my day in London was coming to an end, I just wanted to thank so many from the Met who made it a very special morning – particularly Kate Halpin who is currently recovering from a cycling accident: get well soon!
The road out of London was congested and at one point I fell foul to a white van horn moment – but I’m still not sure why?!?! The more progress we made the better the journey became, and we started to enjoy elements of the countryside. I remained slightly disturbed by the ‘Ironman’ tattoo on Dan’s calf but managed to keep up with the two of them – even at the McDonald’s eating competition! My lasting memory of the trek to Kent will be the never-ending hill to the entrance to Brands Hatch!
Finally we arrived at Kent Headquarters to be greeted by our National Secretary, Dan Murphy. A big thank you to Dan and Andy for being my ‘wingmen’ for the day and yes I did pose with the ‘U 435’ sign right at the end!
HQs reached: 37/46
Miles cycled today: 50
Hours cycled today: 4
Total miles so far: 1566
Total time cycling: 142 hours
Day 27 (1/8) – Kent Police to Sussex Police and onto Police Federation at Leatherhead
An early start and an uncomfortable first ten minutes as my body became acclimatised to cycling again.
The day was glorious (I know my weather luck will eventually run out!) and the route was fabulous.
It was pleasant roads and countryside most of the way to Sussex Headquarters. I was greeted by an authoritarian security guard who gave me ‘words of advice’ for pushing an electronic gate – I won’t do that again!
I then proceeded to meet up with DCC Bernie O’Reilly, Carwyn from our Association and Matt from the PFEW. Great to see all and a very warm reception.
The afternoon got warmer and I was on a mission to get to the Federation HQ at Leatherhead as early as possible. I was ‘in the zone’ and my focus was to finish the fifth day in the saddle! With a bit of grit and determination I arrived to a welcoming committee of Tim, Metin, Alex and Karen. It was a relief to finally arrive!
HQs reached: 38/46
Miles cycled today: 87
Hours cycled today: 8
Total miles so far: 1653
Total time cycling: 150 hours
National Police Memorial Day will be held in Cardiff on Sunday 24th September 2017 in memory of fallen officers.
Paul has so far raised £2621 and you can donate to his cause at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulGriffithsPSAEW
You can follow his journey on Twitter @griffindares and keep checking the website for more blogs as his journey continues.
The road ahead…
Day 28 (16/8) – Leatherhead to Surrey Police to Hampshire Constabulary
Day 29 (17/8) – Hampshire Constabulary to Wiltshire Police
Day 30 (25/8) – Wiltshire Police to Dorset Police
Day 31 (26/8) – Dorset Police to Devon and Cornwall Police
Day 32 (8/9) – Devon and Cornwall Police to Avon and Somerset Police
Day 33 (15/9) – Avon and Somerset Police to Gloucestershire Constabulary
Day 34 (17/9) – Gloucestershire Constabulary to Gwent Police
Day 35 (23/9) – Gwent Police to Cardiff