Malcolm Reeve

Profession: Retired Police Officer

I was brought up in Norfolk where I joined the police as a cadet. This led me into a 30-year career until I retired as chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation. Early in my training – as someone who loved sport – I was part of a four-man police team in a national running competitiion over seven mountain peaks in the Snowdon range. Although we all came from one of the flattest parts of the UK, our team won! I was grateful for a secure career with the police and the future looked bright. Outwardly all was well, but like many other colleagues in the police and emergency services, I faced intense pressures at times.

In my 20s I ran into problems in my personal life when a relationship collapsed due to my immaturity and selfish behaviour. I also felt wretched when my parents were divorced and my sadness increased when my dear grandad, Peter, found he was dying of cancer in his mid-60s. I sat with him in the early hours as his life ebbed away. But at 4 a.m. he suddenly sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. His eyes seemed bright with renewed hope. I reached across to him – then he died in my arms. I noticed there was a great sense of peace in the room and even a fragrant atmosphere that puzzled me. I didn’t know then that my grandad had a life-long faith in God. I found out later that he had told my mother: “Don’t worry, Eileen, the Shepherd has come to see me.” Peter’s death made me think deeply about God. I wasn’t a churchgoer, but one night I tried to pray the Lord’s Prayer –though I couldn’t remember the middle bit. I called out in the darkness: “God, if you are real, you need to show me!” Yet I seemed to be beyond God’s reach. My personal life was a mess and I was looking for hope and a way out. Later, I talked with a Christian lady friend, who had some answers I had never heard of. Very simply she explained who Jesus is. The Bible, she said, made it clear that it was possible for anyone, even me, to know Jesus as a living, personal Saviour who could change lives. A tremendous urgency gripped me as I said: “I need to know Him – now!” So she prayed a simple prayer and I followed the words, line by line. acknowledged that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He died on the cross for me – a sinner, so that I could know forgiveness and find a new life. Tears just flowed and I felt as though someone had lifted a huge burden off my back. Then a sense of lightness, peace and joy flooded my life. It was not just a passing emotion.

As I joined a local church and grew in faith, my life was radically changed. I had always wanted to help people, but now I found many unexpected opportunities to do so. Police officers sometimes have to bring tragic news to relatives. In 1988, I had to visit the home of a widowed mother whose young son had been killed that day in a major accident on the A11, following a crash between a Securicor van and an articulated lorry. When this heartbroken lady told me she was a churchgoer, I mentioned that I, too, was a Christian. She asked me to pray for her. Some months later, I was back in her area, so I popped in to say hello. “You know, I’ve been going to church for 30 years,” she admitted, “but I realise I don’t know Jesus Christ the way you do. You speak of him as a friend.” As we sat at her table I led her in a simple prayer of commitment to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. I noticed that the change in her life was instant – she seemed no longer grief-stricken, but peaceful. A year later, a colleague phoned me and said: “Buy the evening paper.” There, on the front page, was another tragic story: ‘Dinner lady killed in freak accident.’  A car had skidded on ice as she cycled nearby, and she was killed instantly. It was shocking news, but an inner voice said: “Malcolm, she is with Me.” During my police career, I helped to start a Christian police fellowship. I also became a full-time chairman of the county’s Police Federation, which deals with the welfare of officers and any complaints made against them. My wife, Cecile, is a graduate in world development studies and helps to promote Fair Trade products. I am now in training to serve the community in pastoral care. It’s amazing to see the way that God has brought fulfilment into our lives. Being a Christian is the best adventure anyone could experience. We love to see the way the Holy Spirit touches people’s lives. Malcolm is an officer of the Cromer Chapter in North Norfolk and training to be a local preacher in his Methodist Circuit.