The UK’s longest-serving policeman hangs up his hat

The UK’s longest-serving police officer, who spent most of his career in Sussex, has given a farewell patrol on his retirement.

Inspector Mike Rumble, 67, joined Sussex Police in September 1968 as a 16-year-old cadet, starting work in Eastbourne and serving there until 1970.

During his 32 years with Sussex Police, Mike also served in uniform at Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Burgess Hill, Worthing and in the air support unit at Shoreham Airport, where he spent two years on the police helicopter Hotel 900.

When he was promoted to inspector, he moved to force headquarters in Lewes as head of the victim protection unit.

Inspector Mike Rumble has spent most of his career in Sussex

In 2000, he moved to West Sussex County Council as a community safety officer for Horsham and Worthing, then in 2002, became community safety manager for the Horsham district.

Mike developed a number of crime prevention initiatives, including rural neighbourhood wardens and a community handy-van service, in partnership with Saxon Weald Housing.

One of the first rural neighbourhood wardens schemes was established in Ashington after Mike made a successful bid to the government for start-up funding. Four further warden schemes for the Horsham district, including Steyning, followed.

Mike moved back into uniform in 2009, joining Kensington and Chelsea Council as head of the Parks Police Service.

Mike Rumble joined Sussex Police in September 1968 as a 16-year-old cadet, starting work in Eastbourne

Mike said: “I have always enjoyed coming to work and making a positive difference in one way or another.

“I have been lucky in that I have worked with some excellent teams and been able to deliver some long-lasting initiatives that have hopefully made life safer for residents and park users, although the most positive crime prevention measure is still the presence of a uniform officer on the street or in the park.”

Mike spent Thursday, his last day in uniform, patrolling as many of the 90 parks policed by his unit as possible in an eight-hour shift, using an electric pedal cycle.