Special inspector Peter Allen recently reached the impressive milestone of 40 years working as a volunteer to help keep our county’s communities safe.
Peter has worked pretty much everywhere, with everyone, and countless colleagues have called on him for advice and guidance over the years. But joining the Specials was not a decision he made quickly. Peter explained: “At school, the fathers of two of the lads in my year were Specials, my training officer at work was a Special, two pensioners at work were former Specials in Chorley during World War Two, and a member of the Specials sang in the choir at Church.
“In April 1980, my mother had been hit by a motorcycle sustaining some very serious injuries, and I remember rushing to the hospital and speaking to the traffic officer who was dealing with the accident. He was carrying my mother’s shopping bag with a shoe hanging out, I wondered what I would have done if I had been at the accident; I wanted to learn how to ‘help’ in some way.
“What finally tipped me into applying was seeing two lads I knew on duty in police uniforms in Penwortham. Whilst I’d been interested in the police I was also interested in vehicles, so joined Leyland Trucks as a commercial student in 1974. In all honesty, I didn’t feel I was good enough to be a police officer as I was never very good at sport and most of the lads I knew from school who joined the police were rugby players etc. However, I knew these two and thought if they can do it I will give it a shot.
“So I finally applied in July 1980, on my 24th birthday.”
Peter was proud to be accepted, and served his first 30 years in South Ribble, working across all divisions and at HQ after that. “This has given me a fantastic insight into policing in the many different and diverse communities across the county,” he said.
Away from his voluntary work, Peter carried out a balancing act with various roles and extensive travel in his main job at the company which began as Leyland Trucks. Peter said: “I worked full-time until I was 50 then shifted to working part-time as my father was struggling caring for my mother. Having a free day during the week enabled me to take my parents to appointments. My father always booked them at 11 am on a Friday so we could call in at the chip shop on the way home.”
Would Peter recommend the Specials to people? “Absolutely. Firstly if you want to be a cop you can try before you buy, and if it’s not right for you then you haven’t ruined your career. It gives you an insight into other important roles supporting the police. I’d also recommend it to public-spirited people who want to give something back to society.”
Peter retired at 55 but still enjoys his role at Lancashire Police: “I think I have been able to make a difference and the police have taught me a number of skills that I have applied in life,” he said. “I have made a lot of good friends over the years, and having police experiences as a Special helps you prioritise things in life and not worry about trivial things.”
Peter has made an excellent contribution to our communities over the year, and we are extremely grateful to him for his service and wisdom. We hope to keep him in the Lancashire Police family for many more years to come.
Being a Special is an incredibly rewarding career which attracts people from all walks of life. Could a voluntary role helping to keep the people of Lancashire safe be for you? Find out more here. (link to Specials page)