A Police Scotland Special Constable, who provides the only full time policing presence on one of the Hebridean islands, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Donald Ewen Darroch has been commended for his contribution to law and order on the Isle of Jura, where he has been a volunteer officer for more than 22 years.
He said, “I am extremely grateful to have been nominated for this honour, and it was a complete surprise to receive the notification several weeks ago. It’s a role I very much enjoy and I’m glad I am able to do so much for my island community. I joined, many years ago, as a special at the same time as my cousin, after the local Inspector asked us to consider it because the existing special constable was retiring. I’ve been volunteering ever since.”
SPC Darroch combines his policing duties with his day job as an Estate Manager on the island. He said, “Traditionally, island employers allowed anyone who volunteered for the emergency services to drop their work tasks and turn out for duty, as required, and I’m very lucky I can still do that.”
With the nearest regular police officers based on Islay, Donald Ewen is often the first point of contact when islanders need help, and has been involved with a huge range of incidents, from mountain rescues to knife crime and road traffic incidents. When officers have to travel from Islay or the mainland, Donald Ewen often accompanies them on their duties.
The 63-year-old, who has two sons who are both full-time officers with Police Scotland, said he’s been very lucky to have experienced so much in the line of duty, “Because I’m the only officer permanently based on the island, I’ve got to do a lot more than many other specials ever would. I’ve been called out to situations that a special constable in another location would possibly never experience, but also got to assist with major events like Royal visits, and the World War One commemorations on Islay.”
He added, “I think people on the island often appreciate having a well-known face to deal with, especially in situations where I’ve had to deliver bad news.”