A RETIRED police officer who patrolled the streets of Ashbourne for 31 of his 32 years in the force has been praised after earning the British Empire Medal.
Ian Cooper – whose long-standing nickname Mini was bestowed in his first few weeks as a new recruit – received the award in the Queen's New Year's Honours.
Ian, 52, from Windmill Lane, retired from the service in 2012 and works as a teaching assistant in Elton, near Winster.
He started his career with Derbyshire Constabulary at Matlock before moving to Ashbourne in 1981.
In 1990, he moved to the road traffic unit, which was based in the town, and spent 11 years there before returning to community policing.
Before his retirement in January last year, he had been an integral part of Ashbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team and a familiar face in the town.
Ian was honoured for services to the community by Ashbourne Town Council and the Mayor of Ashbourne, and one of the highlights of his career was winning Derbyshire police's Lifetime Achievement Award three years ago.
Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who presented Ian with his British Empire Silver Pin at the Celebrating Awards ceremony last week, said: "In all those years his passion for the job never diminished – if anything it increased.
"For Ian, it wasn't a job – he wanted to help people and this is what drove him on every single day.
"Ian clearly loved his job. He's a great example to others and has made a lasting difference to Ashbourne and the Derbyshire Dales.
"Ian was always committed to going the extra mile to help people and the award of the British Empire Medal is thoroughly deserved."
The British Empire Silver Pin can be worn informally by the holder in honour of appointment to the Order of the British Empire.