Cirencester police station's Barry Manning retires after nearly 50 years of service
HE HIT the headlines for exposing his firearm while protecting Prince Charles, he carried out dawn raids on suspected IRA terrorists and will soon be on his 80th blood donation.
Barry Manning is more than just a friendly face that fronts Cirencester police station – he lives to serve.
But now, nearly 50 years after he first joined Gloucestershire Constabulary as a volunteer cadet, the 64-year-old is preparing to step away from the thin blue line and into his retirement.
Mr Manning has enjoyed a varied career, including serving for 22 years on the firearm section and taking part in several "frightening" raids on potential IRA terrorists.
But he said his highlight was being a protection officer.
"I protected nearly all of the domestic royal family," he said. "It was a position of real responsibility."
When Prince Charles fell from his horse and broke his arm playing polo at Cirencester Park in 1990, Mr Manning was there to help him up.
Unfortunately he exposed his firearm while doing so, which was taboo at the time, and his faux pas appeared in the national press the next day.
For the past decade, Mr Manning has worked on the reception team at Cirencester station. Sgt Garret Gloyn said he would be sorely missed.
"His policing experience is enormous and he brings that into the front office in helping the public," he said. "We will have to keep him on speed dial."
Insp Brian Clifford added: "Barry is a great example of what old fashioned policing is about. He’s of the community and for the community."
Mr Manning told the Standard that policing had changed dramatically since he first joined, with expectations a lot higher than they used to be.
He said he was dismayed at government plans to allow people with higher education qualifications to enter the force at superintendent level, rather than spending two years on the beat first.
"There are experienced officers now who are not going to have a chance of rising through the ranks if these changes are made," he said. "It’s a shame."
Mr Manning added he was looking forward to retirement, but with a wife, three grown-up children and six grandchildren to look after, he was not expecting a quiet life just yet.