“Would I recommend policing as a career?  Absolutely – one thousand percent.”  Those are the words of Detective Inspector Gareth Goddard who retires today after thirty years’ police service.

DI Goddard was born in Leeds and had hoped to join West Yorkshire Police after a short spell with the force as a Special Police Constable however, despite passing the application process, he was told he would have to wait two years to start as a regular police officer so he looked around for another force and found himself heading down the M1 to Leicestershire.

“I fully intended to return to West Yorkshire but never did, “he said, “once I’d set up home and the children were born I was really settled here.”

DI Gareth Goddard standing alongside his training colleagues having completed police constable training

Gareth spent most of his early career based in Loughborough first as a police constable patrolling the Keats Way Estate on foot because there were very few police cars in the early days of his career.  However, he always wanted to work in CID as an investigative officer and passed his detective exams in 1996 working first as a Detective Constable then as a Detective Sergeant.

As a result, the majority of DI Goddard’s thirty years’ service with Leicestershire Police has been spent working tirelessly to bring the most serious and violent offenders to justice. He spent seven years in the Managing Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders team known as MOSOVO. “I really enjoyed my time in MOSOVO and travelled all over the country training officers in other forces to effectively risk assess sex offenders to prevent reoffending  and protect the most vulnerable.   I can’t explain it really.  Although you get to experience people at their worst you are also helping innocent people.  That is what I love – helping the most vulnerable.”

After MOSOVO Gareth moved to Complex Crime and it was there that he was promoted to inspector.  It was during his time as a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) in Complex Crime that he was involved in a case that he will never ever forget.  “I have worked on so many major cases over the years, including the Hinckley Road explosion, that it is very hard to identify one that stands out but I am very proud of how we helped the victim and caught the offender in the Victoria Park rape.”

In July 2017 a woman in her 20s, was walking across Victoria Park having spent the evening with friends, when she was attacked with a paving slab by Charlie John Pearce and violently raped.  She spent a long time in a medically induced coma and was not expected to survive.  In February 2018 after a painstaking investigation Charlie Pearce, from Clarendon park, was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey following his conviction for rape and attempted murder.

Gareth said; “It was a miracle that the victim survived.  The courage and fortitude that she showed was incredible she even stood in the Old Bailey and read out her victim statement to the offenders face.   What she did was massively brave.

“I was part of the team which received a Judge’s commendation in which he described the investigation as, “immaculate”  and for that I am extremely proud not only that we were able to help and support the victim but that we found her attacker and brought him to justice.”

For the last two years of his thirty year career with Leicestershire Police, Gareth has worked in the rape investigation team known as Signal doing what he does best - helping the most vulnerable in society. 

During his career Gareth also studied for a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Psychology where he was taught by the top psychologists in the country which was fully funded by the police. 

He was also a Family Liaison Officer, or FLO, which is a voluntary role giving help and support to the bereaved families of relatives who are killed supporting them through the investigation and court case.

“I think for me, the thing that will stick with me the most are the amazing people and teams I have worked with.  It is a challenging job and the great team spirit is what keeps you going.   We are all very different but we all do it for the same reason – we want to help people.  It is a serious job but there are times I have laughed so much I have cried and I will truly miss working with so many brilliant people.

“I have had a brilliant career and I am very sad to be leaving but it is time, after thirty years’ service, to finally give my attention to my family.  My wife and son and daughter, who are both grown up now, have lived through it with me often not seeing me for days at a time as I worked long hours on a major case.  It’s not just you that joins the police it is the whole family too and they deserve my time now.

DI Gareth Goddard sitting at his office desk.

“We were hoping to go to New Zealand but that is obviously not possible thanks to coronavirus but I fully intend to keep working and would love that to be part of the force if possible but we shall see.

“I am very sad to be leaving Leicestershire Police after 30 years’ service and I would absolutely recommend being a police officer – one thousand percent.”

Detective Chief Inspector Lucy Batchelor from the Serious Crime, Adult Safeguarding Team, said; “Gareth has had a fantastic career and served Leicestershire Police with commitment and dedication. Gareth has truly helped some of the most vulnerable people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and been involved in some extremely notable cases. He’s been an absolute pleasure to work with and we all wish him well for the future.”