One of force’s youngest applicants retires after 30 years in policing
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Steve Joynes dreamt of being a police officer when he was just a toddler and was just nine years old when he applied for a job with Essex Police after seeing an advert in his local newspaper.
His dream eventually became a reality and he is now retiring after 30 fulfilling years in the job, having spent virtually all his career helping the people of the Rochford district.
Steve, who lives in the district, said: “I was three and waiting with my mum to pick my brother up from school and there was a police motorbike there.
“I was fascinated, so the officer picked me up and put me on the bike.
“It was like a light switch had been turned on.
“From then on being a police officer was what I always wanted to do.”
As a child, Steve would wear a toy police helmet to bed and rode a scooter decorated with a police insignia that his mum Pauline had made from an old cereal packet.
When he saw an Essex Police recruitment advert in his local paper, he filled in the enquiry form and sent it back.
The then Chief Constable Robert Bunyard was so impressed with the nine-year-old’s application that he wrote him a letter and organised a home visit from two officers who were involved in recruitment and training.
Steve, now 49, still has the letter from Mr Bunyard and a model police car he was given during the visit.
They promised to keep his details on file and he applied again when he was old enough. He joined the force on December 4 1989 after passing his O-Levels at Westcliff High School for Boys.
The 19-year-old's first posting was in Rayleigh and he moved into a property opposite the police station after leaving the family home in Eastwood.
He spent most of his career in Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford, apart from a six month secondment in the force control room and some short spells working in response during 2010 and 2011.
Steve received a Chief Officers’ Commendation in March 1999 for reviving a man who had collapsed after suffering a severe asthma attack.
The married dad-of-two was awarded a certificate of commendation from Hockley Parish Council in 2005 for his dedication to the area, in particular for organising events for young people.
He was named Citizen of the Year in 2007 for building an excellent rapport with teenagers in Hawkwell and Hockley.
Dedicated Steve, who has only had eight days off sick during his policing career, spent his last six months in the role of Acting Sergeant, guiding officers who are young in service.
He now plans to have a break before deciding on the next chapter in his career.
However, he has not ruled out returning in another role.
“It is a massive family and I think that’s the bit I’m going to miss the most,” he said.
And his daughter Eloise plans to join that wider family herself and follow in her father’s footsteps.
The 17-year-old is a deputy head police cadet for the Rochford and Castle Point Volunteer Police Cadet Unit.
She even joined her father for his last night on patrol on Friday 27 November.
“Eloise is a chip off the old block and wants to apply as soon as she’s old enough,” he said.
Back in 1980, the then chief constable had advised nine-year-old Steve to do his best at school, learn to help people and earn a reputation as a thoughtful young man.
So what’s Steve’s advice to other would-be police officers?
“Just dedication to the job and be aware we are serving the public - we choose to do it,” he said.
“I have always wanted to do it. It’s a fantastic job with fantastic colleagues.
“We work together and it’s a fantastic team effort.
“I think it’s helping each other and doing the right thing that are important.”
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