April 19 2015 Latest news:
Christine Cunningham and Peter Walsh
Sunday, June 22, 2014
For more than a quarter of a century he has helped keep Norwich Crown Court a safe place for the hundreds of people who enter the building every day from defendants and victims to judges and staff.
But after more than 26 years Rod Ashford has retired from his role as a security supervisor at the court and was given a special presentation to thank him for his time working at the building.
Judges, lawyers and staff at the crown court, including Judge Stephen Holt, honorary recorder of Norwich and Judge Anthony Bate, gathered for the special occasion in Norwich last week.
Mr Ashford has worked on security at the court building since it first opened in 1988, and tribute was paid to the professional way he along with his team have handled security at the building over the years.
Judge Philip Curl said: “It is the end of an era as Rod has been associated with this building longer than anyone else.”
He said that Rod and his team had carried out security with good humour, patience and common sense and said he was always working quietly in the background to “tactfully diffuse” any difficult situation.
He added: “That is a considerable skill.”
He said the security team were the first people anyone coming to court meets on arrival and said: “There have been remarkably few incidents and that is down to Rod and his team and how they deal with people.”
Mr Ashford said he would miss the job but added: “It’s time to go.”
He thanked everyone for the send-off and said: “I wish I could do 26 years again!”
He plans to spend some of his well earned retirement doing volunteer work.
During his time as supervisor Mr Ashford highlighted the need for the police knife amnesty when he publicised the array of weapons which security staff had confiscated at the crown court.
Security staff seized a range of items from kitchen knives to a flick knife.
The Norwich Evening News e Norwich Evening News has previously joined forces with Norfolk police for its own knife amnesty where people were encouraged to Bin the Blades at police stations in the city to launch a knife amnesty in a bid to halt the rise in attacks on the streets.
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