Thanks to Matt for flagging up a blog on the Police Foundation website earlier today. It's a tribute to PC Glyn Kelly who spent 20 years walking the streets of Harringay.
Glyn Kelly was a rare and truly exceptional beat bobby. Not only did he spend his days patrolling our streets. At night he used to go home and, during HoL's early years, he was a regular and frequent contributor to this website under both a PC Glyn Kelly profile as well as an anonymous one. Both he and local Sgt Jono were leaders nationally in how they used the web to connect with local people. Sadly both were pulled off the site by the senior Met officers who thought it inappropriate for police officers to be engaging with the public. Unfortunately, all their content was deleted too.
I thought the blog piece was a good tribute to Glyn. I've become aware of it a little late. But, perhaps two years on, it's a good time to remember Glyn. I've copied the first half of the blog below.
Reports of the death of neighbourhood policing may have been greatly exaggerated, but earlier this week they came one step closer to being realised. PC 617YR Glyn Kelly died last Monday, eighteen months after retiring from the Metropolitan Police. For most of his 31 years of service he dedicated himself to one thing only, keeping the people of Harringay Ward, in north London safe. Every shift he could be seen patrolling down Green Lanes or around Finsbury Park in his beat helmet and faded stab vest with its bulging pockets. He travelled very slowly because of the numbers of people who stopped him to report crime, give him a juicy piece of intelligence or merely share a joke. Had he not been a champion runner the amount of tea and biscuits he consumed on the beat would have cost the Met a fortune in stab vests.
PC Kelly was one of the last of the true beat cops. Serving more than 20 years in the same council ward meant that he knew everyone and everything. He was able to identify trouble almost before it happened and knew where the next hotspot would be long before it became a blob on a map. His crime prevention rate – if such a thing could have been measured – would have been astounding. He instinctively grasped the kernel of truth behind the broken windows theory, helping plant trees on troubled streets and persuading people to take pride in their area. He was a regular visitor at church fairs and school fetes, though he drew the line at wearing the Santa costume. He was equally welcome in the mosque, the Greek Orthodox church, the United Reform church and the Anglican church. Stationed outside the mosque after each terror attack during the spring and summer of 2017 he was overwhelmed with bottles of water and kind words from worshippers glad that “their bobby on the beat” was keeping them safe.
PC Kelly sought no credit for what he did and did not seek promotion, although he collected enough evidence to launch several successful careers. He did however once appear in the Independent, guarding a space ship that had “crash landed”into one of the primary schools. He told me once that as soon as he arrived in Harringay ward he realised he had found his place and did not want to go anywhere else.
Unsung local bobbies like PC Kelly are becoming rarer now in police forces where strains on budgets and a move towards prioritising threat, risk and harm mean neighbourhood policing is gone in all but name. But cops like him keep the thin blue line strong and maintain that balance of trust between the people and police which is so vital.
Full article here.
Thank you for posting Hugh, the full article was a great tribute to Glyn Kelly. My mum died the same month and the same year as Glyn. In fact, his Memorial Service was on the same day as my mum’s funeral service. Looking through her address book, shortly after her death, I found the name Glyn Kelly written on a piece of paper and was reminded he was her ‘beat cooper’ as she called him; he called her Joan. She would regularly regale him with her everyday tales of ‘N8 life’ and he would dutifully listen and respond supportively. I distinctly remember her telling me he was retiring and what a loss he would be to the community and what a wonderful person he was to dedicate his life to the people of Haringey.
Thank you, Hugh, for posting this. Clearly, he was one of the good guys. RIP.
What an exemplar to his profession.