Sussex Police is mourning the sudden death of a Bexhill officer who epitomised community policing during a career of almost 30 years with the force.
PC Roy Warren, who inevitably attracted the affectionate nickname of Bunny, passed away at his home on Sunday (July 2), aged just 50.
He joined Sussex Police in 1989, initially serving in Brighton and then for a time as a road traffic officer.
But it was 20 years spent as a bobby in Bexhill that gave him the greatest satisfaction and made him a byword for policing in and around the town.
Always passionate about the dangers of speeding, he was often seen checking motorists’ rate of progress with a hand-held device. Yet even offenders conceded that he always had people’s best interests at heart and was courteous to a fault.
Inspector Dan Russell, who worked with PC Warren for the 20 years he served in Bexhill and Hastings, said: “That actually summed up Bunny – he was constantly concerned about the welfare of others, be they the residents of the town he loved and in which he himself lived, his colleagues at work and even those he had cause to remonstrate with or apprehend.
“It earned him universal respect and reflected a great deal of credit on the service whose uniform he was always proud to wear.”
PCSO Roy Collins, 63, said: “I’m lost for words at the shock of his passing. We met and struck up an immediate friendship. He was what I call a proper copper.
“Bunny was a rock for me in 2011 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. He took me to my appointments, supported my wife Teresa and sent money when I fell ill on holiday and needed treatment.
“He was always thinking of others and, more than a best friend, he was like a brother.”
During what was to be his last shift, Insp Russell asked Bunny to attend a residents’ meeting where reassurance was being sought on several contentious local issues.
Following the meeting, and with typical droll humour, Bunny reported back: “Received applause. Left intact.”
Bunny, a bachelor, is survived by much-loved parents – Arthur, 80, and Kathleen, 79, from St Leonards – and a sister, Jules, 48, from Lockswood.
He had been due to retire as an officer in just 18 months’ time.
Insp Russell added: “It’s sad indeed that Bunny was never to enjoy retirement, but he just loved the job.
“There is no doubt we shall have happy memories of him and the way he made such a positive difference in so many people’s lives.”
A book of condolence is being made available at Bexhill police station in Terminus Road between 10am and 2pm and 3pm and 6pm, Monday to Friday, for those who wish to pay tribute to PC Warren.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.