Policeman retires after 31 years

FROM rubbing shoulders with Brad Pitt's bodyguard at supermodel Claudia Schiffer's wedding to running security for an England match at Portman Road - Carl Puiy has had a varied career.

Craig Robinson

FROM rubbing shoulders with Brad Pitt's bodyguard at supermodel Claudia Schiffer's wedding to running security for an England match at Portman Road - Carl Puiy has had a varied career.

But now Suffolk Constabulary's longest serving senior officer has called time on his successful 31 year career.

Starting off in Lowestoft on a salary of just £2,400 he quickly moved through the ranks and has held a wide range of posts including village policeman at Kessingland, Chief Inspector at Bury St Edmunds and Superintendent at Ipswich.

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More recently he was appointed temporary Assistant Chief Constable but officially retired on Sunday - drawing the curtain on a career that first began in 1977 at the age of 20.

Although he was born and bred in Ipswich his first position came in Lowestoft before a move to Kessingland and then Martlesham, where he worked in what is now the roads policing unit - driving a Mark II Ford Granada.

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“We had a little piece of string that we had to pull and a roll blind would come down the back window that said 'police stop',” Mr Puiy said. “There was only one blue light in those days too - so the technology has changed a bit.”

He was also involved with escorting wide loads through Ipswich town centre during the construction of the Orwell Bridge in the early 80s and in 2000 was responsible for introducing the first police helicopter to Suffolk.

In later years he was made Chief Superintendent in human resources before becoming temporary Acting Chief Constable for the eight months until his retirement.

Mr Puiy, 51, said highlights of his career include working alongside film star Brad Pitt's bodyguard at Claudia Schiffer's Suffolk wedding in 2002.

“I planned the security with Brad Pitt's bodyguard, David Lindsey,” he said. “He was a lovely chap. As well as being concerned for Claudia's safety she had also signed a deal with Hello magazine so we had to make sure no photographers were taking any pictures.

“It was quite interesting and something that is a once in a career opportunity. In one of our final sweeps of the church we found a member of the paparazzi in full camouflage gear up a tree - he'd been there all night trying to get the exclusive photo which he never did.”

Another of his favourite moments came in 2003 when he was match commander at Portman Road for the game between England and Croatia.

“I'm a lifelong Ipswich fan and have been going since I was 10 so it was very special,” he said. “There were 600 officers and we made 32 arrests. We got praise from the FA as one of the best operations of any football match - at that time England were on the road as Wembley was being redeveloped so they went to places like Old Trafford and Villa Park, all big grounds - so it was high praise indeed.”

Mr Puiy, who lives in the Stowmarket area, said he was now hoping to spend more time with his wife, Angela, a sergeant with Suffolk police, and his children, Andrew, 24, and Amanda, 21, and his three year-old granddaughter Eleanor.

However he will still be employed by Suffolk Constabulary in a civilian role as head of custody services.

“I'm looking forward to not being on call and not working weekends,” he joked. “But in all seriousness it has been fantastic working for Suffolk Constabulary because everyone here genuinely cares about the county and the service they give. I've enjoyed everything and loved every minute of it. However the time is definitely right to do something different and I can't wait for the new challenge.”

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