22nd February 2020
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Special constable ‘surprised and honoured’ at New Year’s medal

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Special constable Peter Smith has been recognised for his long service and commitment to the community. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Special constable Peter Smith has been recognised for his long service and commitment to the community. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A long-serving special constable has gained recognition in the New Year Honours list for his dedication to the local community.

Peter Smith, of Lerwick, has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for his 30-plus years of service in the force.

The 55-year-old, who leads the local ambulance service in his full time job, has spent much of his spare time serving the community by donning his police uniform and pounding the beat.

The now defunct Northern Constabulary was just a fledgling force when he took on the role in 1979.

Mr Smith said he was surprised and honoured to have been given the seal of approval by Her Majesty the Queen.

“It’s a surprise. I’m honoured to be nominated. I appreciate that, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a special. I’ve met an awful lot of fine folk through it. It’s been enjoyable,” he told The Shetland Times.

“The Northern Constabulary, as it was, wasn’t terribly old when I joined. I was almost for the full stretch of the Northern Constabulary.”

Although undoubtedly lengthy, his service to the police is still a couple of years short of his long career with the ambulance service which began in 1977. Mr Smith already has a long service and good conduct medal for his career as a paramedic, so there is no doubting his commitment to the community in which he lives.

Perhaps the easiest question to ask – what have been the highlights of your long and distinguished career? – is, understandably, the most difficult for Mr Smith to answer.

Working at the sharp end of community service has invariably seen the hard-working special thrown into the deep end of some of Shetland’s most tragic incidents.

He was on-hand when the Braer ran aground off Garths Ness in January 1993, dealt with the consequences of the Chinook disaster and worked both as a paramedic and a policeman when the 1979 Dan Air disaster struck.

For more on Mr Smith’s remarkable career and his recollections of what live as a special was like, see Friday’s Shetland Times.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. Carol Gifford

    Well done Peter…well deserved.
    You have given a lot of your life to the community, and I’m sure it’s been much appreciated by so many. And well done to your family for being behind you throughout it all.

  2. Joe Johnson


  3. Tom Leask

    Congratulations Peter, I was very pleased for you when I heard da news

  4. Dr. Anupam Ghosh

    Peter Smith shows honesty, perseverance and patience pays off – no matter how late. Congratulations Peter!


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