Ex-Scotland Yard chief turned down as Billingshurst village police volunteer

First published in News by

A former Scotland Yard chief who once protected Royalty was told he could not volunteer to help his village PCSO.

During his 40-year career as a top cop, Bob Marsh, 74, was a former head of the Royal and Diplomatic Protection Department and was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen.

But when he and his wife applied to help out Billingshurst's PCSO Adrian Bell, the couple were told they could not be volunteers as they once lived in Spain.

His partner Sandy Henney, 61, was a former press officer for the Metropolitan Police and the Prince of Wales.

Mr Marsh condemned the “jobsworths” who stopped him volunteering and said he only wanted to help out his local community support officer.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, he said: “It's a jobsworth thing. We've given a lifetime of service to Queen and country and I think it's sad they have these silly rules.

“All we wanted to do was answer the phones and deal with the public over the counter which would have given the community officer more time to patrol the streets.

“We moved back to Britain last year having spent nine years in Spain.

“We may not have been resident in the UK, but having lived in another EU country with reciprocal arrangements it would have been quite easy to check that we hadn't attended any insurgent training camps in the mountains of Malaga.”

Mr Marsh said the event sent his application form off with a reference from Scotland Yard's former head of counter-terrorism, George Churchill-Coleman.

He added that said Sussex Police's nine-page application form was longer than one he filled out as part of his vetting by the Secret Service.

Mr Marsh said: “Seriously, I was positively vetted to a level I would have thought warranted being able to answer a phone or deal with a member of the public.”

Yesterday Sussex Police said it would welcome any application from the couple. 

A spokeswoman from Sussex Police said: "We are aware of a media report in relation to an applications to be a volunteer at Billingshurst.

"The applicants did not in fact submit vetting forms after enquiring about the residency qualification.

"We do follow ACPO National Vetting Policy Guidelines for all forces, which set out a minimum residency period in the UK of three years immediately prior to any application for employment with the Force.

"However any applicants who are told that they have been rejected on those grounds can always seek a review, which will be individually considered when accompanied by the relevant and specific documented information.

"We are asking the people concerned in this case to submit their forms and we would review their case."

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:52am Tue 25 Mar 14

Baffled of Brighton says...

It is good to see that they have stringent checks... with accusations of all of the corruption within the Met Police some of which is alleged to have happened whilst he was chief, I am not surprised they found any loophole possible to turn him down
It is good to see that they have stringent checks... with accusations of all of the corruption within the Met Police some of which is alleged to have happened whilst he was chief, I am not surprised they found any loophole possible to turn him down Baffled of Brighton
  • Score: 0

8:30am Tue 25 Mar 14

sussexanarchist says...

"The applicants did not in fact submit vetting forms after enquiring about the residency qualification."

So he's lying about even receiving the 'nine page vetting form" to complete in the first place.

As a former whatever-big-shot-he
-was he should understand the simple fact that EVERYONE is subject to checks before they work for the police, and if the guidelines say you have to have three or five years residency in the UK before you apply, that appies to him too.

If his previous police employers were that lax about background checks, it's easy to see how corrupt, or potentially corrupt, people got in.
"The applicants did not in fact submit vetting forms after enquiring about the residency qualification." So he's lying about even receiving the 'nine page vetting form" to complete in the first place. As a former whatever-big-shot-he -was he should understand the simple fact that EVERYONE is subject to checks before they work for the police, and if the guidelines say you have to have three or five years residency in the UK before you apply, that appies to him too. If his previous police employers were that lax about background checks, it's easy to see how corrupt, or potentially corrupt, people got in. sussexanarchist
  • Score: 2

11:22am Tue 25 Mar 14

Roundbill says...

It seems pretty obvious he's tried the old "Do you know who I am?" nonsense, and now he's throwing a tantrum because it hasn't got him anywhere. Sorry Bob: that cr@p might have worked with the masons, the gold club and the Old Boys Network back in the day, but it doesn't cut any mustard out here in the real world.
It seems pretty obvious he's tried the old "Do you know who I am?" nonsense, and now he's throwing a tantrum because it hasn't got him anywhere. Sorry Bob: that cr@p might have worked with the masons, the gold club and the Old Boys Network back in the day, but it doesn't cut any mustard out here in the real world. Roundbill
  • Score: 5

12:50pm Tue 25 Mar 14

ajpj says...

Amazing how a story like this prompts the "idle race" to act like snarling dogs, whenever "Metropolitan Police" is mentioned ... do they really believe all of the rubbish they read in the papers? ... two people offering to give their time to help the Police by whatever means , FOR NO PAY receive abuse for doing so ... Sad, very sad & only in the UK ! .... why are the current Police hierarchy so frightened of ex Police officers ...I think I know why, it's because they now see themselves as only shadows of what used to exist before politics spread throughout the service Come along Katy .. time for another Videocast & I hope Mr Marsh has written to you, & told you to answer you own Phones !
Amazing how a story like this prompts the "idle race" to act like snarling dogs, whenever "Metropolitan Police" is mentioned ... do they really believe all of the rubbish they read in the papers? ... two people offering to give their time to help the Police by whatever means , FOR NO PAY receive abuse for doing so ... Sad, very sad & only in the UK ! .... why are the current Police hierarchy so frightened of ex Police officers ...I think I know why, it's because they now see themselves as only shadows of what used to exist before politics spread throughout the service Come along Katy .. time for another Videocast & I hope Mr Marsh has written to you, & told you to answer you own Phones ! ajpj
  • Score: 1

6:01pm Tue 25 Mar 14

John Steed says...

great respect to a 74 year old who wants to assist his local community, almost puts younger people to shame. I am sure with his spirit and attitude he will soon find some other way the he and possibly his wife can use there undoubted expiriences to help others, respect.
great respect to a 74 year old who wants to assist his local community, almost puts younger people to shame. I am sure with his spirit and attitude he will soon find some other way the he and possibly his wife can use there undoubted expiriences to help others, respect. John Steed
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree