Scottish island's only full-time police officer earns award from Queen

He is the only full-time police officer on the island - and after more than 20 years on the beat he has more than proved his worth.

Special Police Constable Donald Ewen Darroch, on the Isle of Jura. Picture: Police Scotland
Special Police Constable Donald Ewen Darroch, on the Isle of Jura. Picture: Police Scotland

Donald Ewen Darroch, a Police Scotland Special Constable, is based on the the Isle of Jura offering the only full-time policing presence.

The volunteer officer has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his contribution to law and order on the Hebridean island.

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SPC Darroch, 63, 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.”

SPC Darroch joined the force, along with his cousin, after being head-hunted by the island's sergeant.

"I joined, many years ago, as a special at the same time as my cousin, after the local sergeant asked us to consider it because the existing special constable was retiring," he said. "I’ve been volunteering ever since."

He added: "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."

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.

SPC Darroch, who has two sons who are both full-time officers with Police Scotland, said he has 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," he said. "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.”