INSPECTOR Brad Dickel has retired after spending more than 30 years fighting crime and keeping residents safe across Southend.

Even though Mr Dickel faced challenging moments, from arresting rape and murder suspects to leading the first successful prosecution in the county for the grooming of an under-13-year-old for sexual purposes, he cherished every day of his 32 year career.

In a heartfelt farewell interview, Mr Dickel looked back on his extensive police career, sharing experiences and advice for aspiring officers.

He said: “I started my career with Essex Police back in 1992 at the age of 16 and joined the regulars on D-day, June 6, 1994.”

Mr Dickel took on a plethora of roles in Essex Police from his hometown of Shoebury, to Southend and the south of the county, finally taking up management roles in specialist operations and learning and development.

The retired Inspector fondly recounted his time in Essex Police.

He said: “I was lucky enough to be promoted to Sergeant and Inspector at Southend, working with some exceptional people and had the pleasure of supervising tactical and focus teams, targeting known criminals.”

Promotions from cadet up to Inspector saw Mr Dickel spend a year as temporary district commander for Southend in 2012.

Discussing his proudest moment, the seasoned officer said: “As counter terrorism security coordinator, I am proud to have planned and led on over 100 operations designed to mitigate the threat, harm and risk of terrorism towards events, festivals, and VIP visits alike.”

When asked which role was his favourite, he said: “Every one has it’s own benefits and challenges although nothing beats being a Sergeant on a proactive team with the flexibility to target those that cause such misery to society.

“I was lucky enough to have had this both in Southend and Castle Point where the teams achieved outstanding results.”

To anyone considering a career in policing, Mr Dickel said: “Definitely do it.

“Make sure you find your feet and learn the role properly and don’t be too eager to move on to pastures new.”

Looking forward to the future, the retired Inspector plans to spend more time with friends and family while he considers his next steps.