Popular police officer retires

A WELL-KNOWN local bobby will shortly retire from the Police Force after 30 years of service.

Constable Mark Callison (48), who has been a community liaison officer in Carnoustie since 1999, worked his last shift on Wednesday.

He joined Tayside Police in 1983 and worked as a beat officer in Arbroath for four years, then Montrose for another three years.

Mark then had a community policing role in Carnoustie for three years before becoming a crime prevention officer for Eastern Division (Angus) in 1993, a role he held for five years, based in Forfar.

In 1998 he became a force architectural liaison officer, a role that aimed to reduce crime, and fear of crime, through working with architects and planners. He has also been an officer safety training instructor.

One of his most memorable experiences was as an air observer as part of Tayside Police’s air support unit.

He told the Guide & Gazette: “The helicopter trial lasted for three months in the summer of 1999, providing air support to events like the Carnoustie Open and T in the Park. We worked alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service and helped convey paramedics to the scene of an accident much more rapidly than by road journey.

“It was also used for vulnerable missing person searches. We could rapidly cover large areas with thermal imaging device at night. However, it was only a trial and the presence of a full-time Air Support Unit in Tayside never came to fruition. Anyone directly involved in the trial could see the benefits.”

Mark’s experience saw him work along-side police air crews from throughout the UK providing aerial support during the G8 conference at Gleneagles in 2005.

He watched from the sky as protestors clashed with police and helped to advise headquarters on how to deploy the force’s resources.

Mark has regularly attended the monthly meetings of Carnoustie Community Council and held the position of secretary of the Carnoustie and District Crime Prevention Panel, a group he has been involved in since it was set up in 1992.

He has delivered a variety of education programmes to the five primary schools in the area as well as Carnoustie High.

He told the Guide & Gazette: “It has been a very rewarding and worthwhile role and it’s been fantastic to have a close working partnership with local organisations and partner agencies including schools. Along with my fellow community liaison officers in Angus I have delivered a programme of school talks on topics such as personal safety, drugs, alcohol, vandalism and citizenship.

“I will certainly miss this work because I think we’ve got exceptionally good schools, pupils and teaching staff here in the Carnoustie area .”

Mark concluded: “I’m going to spend some time assessing what direction I want to go into next. Having been in the police service since I was 19 it is pretty much all I have known and it’s going to be a big lifestyle change but the time has come to pass the role on to someone else.

“The Carnoustie public have been great to work with. There are so many good people in the town, young and old, who contribute so much to the community .”