A BRAVE volunteer police officer who was drafted in to help regular officers tackle thugs running rampage in the Birmingham riots has been praised by colleagues.
Special constable Lizzie Bishop, who works as a travel agent for Kuoni in Touchwood, helped the stretched West Midlands force during the disorder on August 8 and 9.
Lizzie, aged 26, worked 20 hours to support the regulars doing 12-hour shifts, helping to deal with violence in Northfield, Selly Oak, Selly Park and Edgbaston.
Lizzie, who lives in Selly Oak, said: “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. It was scary, but also very sad to see.
“It was especially sad for me to see the shops that had been smashed up, as I could imagine how the owners and staff of those businesses would be feeling.”
“I got in about about 6pm-ish. We went out on 999 calls as well as things that were flaring up outside the centre.
“There were moments when everyone was like - they haven’t seen this before.
“There were large groups and a lot more police officers.”
Special constables are usually expected to carry out 16 hours a month, on top of their day job.
They have all the powers of a regular officer.
Lizzie began her special constable training in March and finished in July.
“Our training is quite intensive,” she said.
“It is not as much as a regular - they do about 18 weeks - but West Midlands Police have put together the most important elements for personal safety and all the legal things you need to know.
“I joined the specials because I had spare time and I thought I could give back to the community. It gives you skills outside your regular day job.
“I get to interact with different local communities and to meet people from different cultures.
“It also keeps me in touch with all the local businesses, and it’s great to interact with different people in the area. I understand the challenges they face and that helps me in my work too.”
Mary Janiec, store manager at Kuoni Solihull, said: “I can’t speak highly enough about the remarkable job Lizzie carried out.
“We are all incredibly proud of her!”