Kiwi holds very thin blue line for party

By Alanah Eriksen

Tony Churchill is the only copper in Old Amersham village. Photo / Alanah Eriksen
Tony Churchill is the only copper in Old Amersham village. Photo / Alanah Eriksen

Tony Churchill may be working on the day of the royal wedding but he still gets to party.

The New Zealander will form the only police presence at one of more than 4000 street parties being held around the UK as residents celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

British Prime Minister David Cameron last week took the unusual step of writing in a national newspaper to encourage Brits to "bring out the bunting" by holding celebrations in their neighbourhoods on April 29.

He said the Government had ripped up red tape and told councils not to "make problems where there are none".

Mr Churchill, 57, is a police community support officer, a non-warranted, uniformed officer employed by Thames Valley Police.

He is the only officer in the village of Old Amersham, northwest of London, and will be patrolling its traditional street party on Friday next week.

The party on the main street will start after residents have watched the wedding on TV. Each household will bring a plate of food to share, dress in red, white and blue and play old games such as Splat the Rat and Roll a Penny.

Residents are proud of the old village - recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 - and are quick to point out its Crown Pub was the scene of the Hugh Grant film Four Weddings and a Funeral and episodes of the TV series Midsomer Murders.

Mr Churchill, a former watercolour artist, moved to London with his English wife Lynn from Wellington 13 years ago.

He takes his job very seriously and has even written a book titled Neighbourhood Policing Through the Eyes of a PCSO. He is completing a public safety booklet for schools in the Thames Valley with the help of Birds of a Feather actress Pauline Quirke.

"We're like the old bobbies on the beat. Whereas PCs investigate crime, we engage with the community and solve a lot of issues by prevention."

Mr Churchill wears a stab-proof vest but does not carry any weapons and has no powers of arrest.

But he carries a police radio which has a "help" button to alert police.

- NZ Herald

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