A PARALYSED police officer, who devotes his life to steering youngsters away from violent crime and gangs, has been awarded an MBE.
PC Rob Pedley was formally made a Member of the British Empire by royal appointment at Buckingham Palace when he was presented with his medal by Prince William.
Since its launch in 2011, Rob has run West Midlands Police’s Precious Lives project and has spoken to more than 100,000 teenagers across the region.
Joined by Marcia Shakespeare and Alison Cope – mothers who have tragically lost children to gun and knife crime – he tours the region’s schools on a campaign to ‘deglamourise’ gang culture and to encourage youngers to steer clear of crime.
Speaking about his pride at receiving his MBE, PC Pedley said: “It was an amazing experience: there were around 60 people receiving honours and I felt very privileged to be among them.
“It was also Armistice Day and we collectively observed the two minutes silence in the palace’s main ballroom – it was very moving.
“I expected Prince William to say something like ’so what have you done then’ – but he asked about the Precious Lives scheme and seemed genuinely interested to hear about our work.
“Along with my family, I was photographed with lots of tourists as we entered the courtyard and when my children told the taxi driver their dad was collecting a medal he told us he didn’t want paying for the journey.
“It was a great day and a fantastic experience.”
Rob joined the force in 1987 as a specialist firearms officer in the rapid response team.
But in 2008 the father of three suffered a tragic snowboarding accident which saw him plunge 240ft down a slope, breaking his spinal cord, and puncturing both lungs.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, PC Pedley returned to work in a wheelchair – telling his story to teenagers to encourage them to think about their life choices and remember that life, like his, can change in a split second.
He added: “I feel privileged to be in a position where I can influence young people and help them make the right life choices.
“I’m just doing my job as a PC in line with our values of giving our communities 100 per cent and to police with confidence, pride and passion.
“I haven’t achieved the success of the Precious Lives project alone.
“I have had support at every step from WMP colleagues, plus Marcia and Alison, and my family in allowing me to rebuild my life to where it is today.”