Former Police Sergeant Mel Thomas awarded Queen’s Police Medal
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Retired Police Sergeant Mel Thomas has received the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service to crown and country following over 30 years in policing.
Mel, who retired in March this year, was the first black African Caribbean officer in Leicestershire to become an Authorised Firearms Officer. He paved the way for policing nationally through his experiences, one of which was when he entered a house whilst the suspect was inside armed with a gun. This was the first time in the country officers used tactics to do this and paved the way for others informing future tactical operations.
He also led and was instrumental in researching and developing an alternative product to CS spray which was recognised nationally by the Health and Safety Executive and in the national media.
Mel also had sole responsibility for the design and production of the Leicestershire Police 'spit guards' addressing diversity concerns whilst protecting officers, partners and members of the public. These have been especially relevant during the Covid pandemic.
He continues to take the role of Vice Chair of the Black Police Association and is passionate and tenacious in his support for equality and building community relations.
Mel has been a leader in his field of officer safety and public order policing. Despite retiring as an officer, Mel came straight back to work as a Positive Action Officer for recruitment. He is trusted as a role model and ambassador for our communities.
Mel receives this medal as someone who is passionate about safeguarding young people and tackling knife crime. He will be continuing to work with disadvantaged students from schools where he acts as a role model to transform their thinking about life choices and influence career plans.
He has been a respected champion and ambassador for numerous charities for over three decades. Being resourceful, inspirational and passionate about helping others, he has tenaciously raised more than £350,000 and raised the profile and needs of charities he has supported.
Mel has had a distinguished policing career for the past 30 years and receives the QPM in recognition of what he has done and his distinguished service.
Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “It is fantastic to see Mel's career of public service acknowledged by Her Majesty the Queen through the award of the QPM.
"Mel was an operational police officer who has led the way here in Leicestershire dealing with everything from disorder to leading the Leicester City team through Leicester on their open top bus victory parade! Mel has also raised thousands of pounds for charities.
"Mel is now working in our positive action team sharing his passion for policing across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. I am thrilled to see his work recognised in this way.”
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “Sergeant Mel Thomas has been an outstanding police officer during his career and continues to make a positive difference in our communities through his charity work, his role as a Positive Action Officer, and his support of young and disadvantaged students.
“Colleagues across the force all speak highly of Mel’s commitment and selflessness, and the impact he has made over three decades, particularly in his support for equality and building community relations. I’m thrilled these efforts have been recognised. Mel thoroughly deserves this recognition and is the pride of Leicestershire Police.”
Mel Thomas said: "My honest reaction when I was informed of this was one of emotion. Who would have thought a little kid from the Northfields would be on his way to Buckingham Palace?
"When many look elsewhere for inspiration and role models, I never had to look further than the dinner table. My parents were first generation Windrush migrants from Antigua. They taught me to respect and care for people; everything that I am is down to them.
"Family is everything and I’m forever grateful for the support of my children and my partner. I know that my father will be looking down and is proud of what I have achieved.
"Having now retired as a warranted officer I can now devote more time to working with disadvantaged students from schools to provide a role model and hopefully transform their thinking about life choices and influence their career plans.
"I have been blessed to have worked with and for some fabulous people over the years. Thank you for the support, thanks for the memories and above all thanks for just trying to do the best that we could for the people of Leicestershire.”