ONE of South Derbyshire’s most well-respected police officers is laying down her handcuffs and heading into retirement.
After 36 years with Derbyshire Police, PC Eileen Banton has caught her last criminal as she leaves the force today.
Widely respected by colleagues and members of the community alike, the 54-year-old, from Burton, was rewarded for her dedication and hard work when she was handed an MBE in 2012.
“For me that was the icing on the cake. That people thought my work was worthy of such an award fills me with pride and puts me among a select group of people,” said the retiring crime reduction officer, who was based at Swadlincote Police Station.
PC Banton began her police career in 1978 and enjoyed time walking the beat in Swadlincote before heading to Derby to join the shoplifting squad and CID.
She returned to the area in 1994 and has been here ever since.
She added: “I have seen a lot of change, some good and some bad.
“When I started it really was like the television show Life on Mars. I was the only policewoman in Swadlincote for quite some time.”
PC Banton’s most recent role within the force has seen her working with the community and she will be well known for her pivotal role in organising the annual Liberation Day event in the area.
“I have had lots of fun and made lots of friends and hope people think I have made a difference with my work,” she said.
“Swadlincote is a wonderful place to live and work and full of great people and I am pleased to have been a part of the area for so long.
“I have had a blast and doubt I will be able to top it.”
PC Banton is set to take a ‘few months off’ before deciding what she will do next in her life.