Bury St Edmunds: Police mechanic Norman celebrates 50 years in same job

WORKERS with an employment record like Norman Robertson are a rare find these days.

The 65-year-old from Bury St Edmunds is Suffolk Police’s longest-serving member of staff after spending 50 years in the job he loves.

The grandfather-of-three began his working life as a car mechanic for the police at the age of 15 on April 4, 1961, and remains in the same job to this day.

To recognise the milestone, Mr Robertson has been presented with a certificate from the force as well as some money which he has spent on a DVD recorder and a small flat screen TV.

He said: “I’m contented. I think if you work all your life you may as well do something you are happy doing.”

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When he joined the force he was working for West Suffolk Police as the East and West Suffolk forces did not amalgamate until 1967.

His career began when, after filling in a form at school, he had to attend the old police station in St John’s Street, Bury, with his father.

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“I was left with an Inspector while he went in to see the Chief Constable. I was then ushered in, shook his hand and I got the job.”

Mr Robertson has seen a lot of changes in his 50 years in the job, ranging from the size of the fleet to the types of vehicles, such Morris Minors and Minivans, but he said as long as they had nuts and bolts the team could keep them running.

Nowadays the workshop at Bury police station services and maintains 140 police cars and vans covering west Suffolk, but in 1961 the team looked after 12 cars and 13 motorbikes.

They moved to a purpose-built workshop at the present police station in Raingate Street in 1964.

Mr Robertson said he just enjoyed “keeping wheels turning” and having something to do.

“I’ve been here 50 years now and some wonder how I’ve put up with the same thing day after day. Well, I have never got up wishing I didn’t have to go in.”

Mr Robertson, who lives with his wife Liz on the Howard estate in Bury, said he is due to retire in February next year.

Bob Ward, transport manager for Suffolk Police, said: “Norman has always showed commitment and dedication towards keeping the vehicles at Bury and the surrounding area on the road and in top condition.”

He added how Mr Robertson was a “really nice guy” with a laid-back attitude, and he had received lots of positive feedback about the “excellent job” the team at Bury do.

Jacqui Cheer, Suffolk’s Deputy Chief Constable, thanked Mr Robertson on behalf of the whole force.

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