New goal for Blackburn's football officer

Thursday, 12 April, 2012

A POLICE officer, who helped to keep spectators safe, is set to blow the final whistle on his role as Football Intelligence Officer.

PC Martin Crook, who took over the role in 2006, has retired from Lancashire Constabulary after 21 years with the force.

Preston-born Martin, 51, spent 14 years in the Army (Royal Signals) before joining Lancashire Constabulary in July 1991 where he worked as a patrol officer in Blackburn. He has since worked in a variety of roles including neighbourhood policing and the support unit before taking on the football job where he has spent the last six years.

Since starting the role, the dedicated officer has attended the majority of Blackburn Rovers fixtures, both home and away, including European games. He has worked closely with the Division's two football clubs - Rovers and Accrington Stanley to help stop troublemakers from spoiling the enjoyment for genuine fans.

A lifelong football fan, Martin was delighted to take on the role of FIO and has become a well known and popular figure around Ewood Park.

He said: "I have built a strong affiliation to the club over the years - I've worked very closely with the staff on a daily basis and have become good friends with such a lot of people.

"Ive had a fantastic career with the police - Ill be sad to go but I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life."

Chief Superintendent Bob Eastwood said: "Martin has made a fantastic contribution to the policing service. He performed a very unique and important role and was relied upon by the club and the Constabulary to ensure effective policing of major sporting events.

"He is very popular with supporters and the club and should be proud of his service. He will be missed by his colleagues and we wish him well for the future."

Ewood Stadium Manager John Newsham added: "It's the end of an era and we are very sorry to see Martin go.

"As well as performing his duties to an excellent standard he has also developed a superb working relationship with both staff and supporters."

Martin, who lives in East Lancashire with his wife and two children, will now be immigrating to the Mediterranean to live in the sun with his family.

Taking over from Martin will be PC Paul Gahan, 46, who has worked as a police officer for 24 years - starting his career in the Metropolitan Police before transferring to Merseyside and then to Lancashire where he has spent the last seven years.

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