Wednesday 26 July 2017

Exclusive: Former world champion Steve Collins signs up for London's Royal Military Police

Former world boxing champion Steve Collins
Former world boxing champion Steve Collins
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Ireland's former two-weight world boxing champion Steve Collins has revealed to Independent.ie that he has been sworn into the 4th Regiment Royal Military Police at a ceremony in London.

Collins, who is being strongly linked with a possible return to the ring for a fight against old foe Nigel Benn at the age of 52, took the step as he looks to make a contribution to London after a trouble few months for his adopted home city.

The 'Celtic Warrior' issued this statement to Independent.ie as he explained the reasons behind his decision:

"I was sworn into the 4th Regiment Royal Military Police at a ceremony in London.

The unit conducts a range of duties, including general police duties, close protection and movement support across the UK.

The reason I have joined the Royal Military Police is that London has been my home for the past 20 years. I raised my young family here amongst a thriving Irish community, had many of my greatest boxing successes here and I believe it is one of the greatest cities in the world.

Ever since the 7/7 bombings, and especially due to the recent terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower tragedy, London has been living under a cloud of fear and sadness. There isn’t the same sense of togetherness, and many people don’t feel safe. It is an atmosphere that has been building for some time.

A part of me has always asked; what can I do to help? What can I do to help keep London safe and restore that sense of community?  However, I was never quite sure of what I could do or who I should contact.

Back in 2015, the GAA agreed to allow the Irish Guards Regiment in the British Army to field a GAA team in their London Championships.  To celebrate this historic occasion, the then Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall, invited a number of sporting celebrities and members of the Police and Military to the Embassy.

On that evening Irish men currently serving in the Irish Defence Forces, the Irish Guards Regiment of the British Army, An Garda Síochána, the London Metropolitan Police and the NYPD were present. One of the guests asked me the question would I have any interest in getting involved in the reserves?

I thought, this is exactly what I have been looking for. Following that night I began to make enquiries and applied for a position as a Police Support Officer in the London Metropolitan Police, the Royal Military Police Reserves and The London Fire Brigade.

The entire process has taken over 18 months with vetting checks, entry examinations and physical and medical tests.  My application as a Voluntary Fire Fighter in London City was turned down as I was required to live within 10 minutes of a London City Fire Station.

During this period, London has gone through another horrendous series of traumatic experiences with vicious terrorist attacks and other tragedies including the Grenfell Tower Fire, reinforcing my desire and duty to play my part.

London is under tremendous pressure. Its defence forces and the Metropolitan Police Service are suffering severely in terms of financial support and are struggling to do the job with the resources provided. My offer of donating one day a week to assist in basic policing of the city which will free up officers who are specialists in their department to go out and keep London safe. I hope a number of other like-minded citizens will consider playing their part."

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