Saffron Walden police sergeant retires after more than 30 years

Sgt Prout outside the station on her last day

Sgt Prout outside the station on her last day - Credit: Archant

After 33 years in uniform Sergeant Andrea Prout of Saffron Walden Police Station retired on Tuesday (June 9) for a well earned break.

Starting out in the Women’s Royal Army Core at 16, Sgt Prout moved on to serve in the Metropolitan Police before spending 11 years with Essex Police where she has spent the last two years posted in Saffron Walden.

Sgt Prout is finally putting her feet up and celebrated her first day of retirement on her 50th birthday yesterday (Wednesday).

She said: “As for Saffron Walden, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to spend my last two years of shifts.

“That nothing happens in the town is a bit of a myth. We have crime trends just like anywhere else, like the series of charity shops which were broken into.

“My last day is tinged with sadness. I love working with my team and officers in Saffron Walden but there’s also a bit of ‘what’s next’. I will be looking for another job, for something a bit less stressful.”

In recent years police officers have seen an increased strain on resources, as have a number of public services. Sgt Prout believes police are now often the first and last port of call in many emergency situations.

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She added: “Being a police officer is a fantastic job and we share lots of joy and we are there to support people in times of horrendous despair and sadness.

“When we write our application form we say we want to make a difference and help people. I have always said if I wasn’t making a difference I wouldn’t do it and I think we are still doing it for all the right reasons.”

Throughout her 33-year career she has seen many changes within the force and an increase in equality for women in the job.

Sgt Prout said: “I think equality has risen and is a huge part of modern policing and Essex Police in particular are very forward with their equality where it’s now a given we don’t even have to talk about.

“It’s a much better place for women than it was 30 years ago.”

A retirement party is planned for the end of July where she hopes to be reunited with some of her colleagues from the Met before taking a well earned holiday.

“My pension is now ready for me and I have completed my pensionable shifts, so I’m passing the truncheon on to someone younger,” she said,

“It’s been great, Saffron Walden is a lovely place to work but I’m sure you’ll all be alright without me.”