A new officer now patrolling the streets as part of Marlborough’s neighbourhood policing team is no stranger to the town. In fact his new posting is something of a return home for 42-year-old Sergeant Barry Reed (pictured).
For he was brought up in Marlborough, went to St John’s School and after joining the police force at 21 returned to serve at Marlborough police station for almost three years in the 1990s.
“It feels a bit surreal to be back in familiar territory and it’s a bit like coming home too,” he told Marlborough News Online.”
“So I expect to see some of the people I went to school with and had some dealings with as a police officer.”
“The only difference now, 15 years later, is that I will probably be dealing with some of their children now that I am back.”
However, he points out that local contacts are an important aspect of policing, and declared: “Having that local knowledge of an area and the people you are dealing with is a huge advantage.”
“I am very keen to be working alongside the community and empowering them to have the trust and confidence in us – they’re issues that do exist today — to do our job while making them part of that process.”
“Hopefully, we can help to make Marlborough a great place. It is a safe place already but we can always do better working with the community.”
Born in Somerset, the son of a herdsman, Sergeant Reed’s family moved to Wootton Rivers when he was five and he went to school in Pewsey.
Then, aged 12, his family moved to Fosbury, near Oxenwood, and he became a pupil at St John’s, where playing cricket with police officers serving in Marlborough and Pewsey inspired him to entertain a life on the beat.
Fellow students ribbed him and friends declared it would never happen, but after initially working on the land like his father, he joined the Wiltshire force at 21, one of the delights being “that every day is different.”
He added: “There are times in my career when I look back and can say I really made a difference in somebody’s life. That’s what we do in the police. And it is massively important to be working in the community in a place like Marlborough.”
That considerable career has included eight years as a dog handler and, more recently, serving in the hectic Swindon town centre.
“I am really excited about my new posting having grown up in Marlborough,” he said. “I believe that the experience and skills I have gained within the Swindon borough neighbourhood policing teams will serve my new community very well.”
Sergeant Reed, who lives near Burbage with his wife, Karen, and their two sons, aged six and eight, has won acclaim in Swindon, where he was awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation for his work in reducing anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
Under recent changes, the Marlborough neighbourhood policing team is part of the Royal Wootton Basset neighbourhood area, which is led by Inspector Mark Thompson.
“Sergeant Reed is a welcome addition to our neighbourhood team in Marlborough,” Inspector Thompson told Marlborough News Online.
“I am convinced he will put his previous policing experience to good use in serving the community. I have worked with him previously and I am looking forward to working with him again.”