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