The East End’s longest serving special constable retires

TOWER Hamlets’ longest serving special constable is retiring after 26 years on the beat.

Arthur Sipthorpe, 68, can count saving a man from bleeding to death among his many achievements while pounding the streets of the East End as a volunteer officer.

Despite the three commendations under his belt, it was the enjoyment of “getting to meet people from all walks of life” which motivated him, he said.

The East Ender added: “I’ve always been able to speak to people on their level.

“You’ve got to treat people how you’d like to be treated.”

You may also want to watch:

Born and bred in Mile End, Mr Sipthorpe’s fascination with the force came about after a violent thug tried to steal his father’s car in the 1960s.

A scuffle broke out but an officer was soon on hand to arrest the crook.

Most Read

The young East Ender had a newfound respect for the police but it took nine years to reach his dream of joining the force.

He was turned down time and again for being short-sighted and then too old – restrictions which are not around today.

He eventually made it as a special constable in 1984.

Specials do not get paid but have the same powers as regular officers.

The bobby’s biggest challenges include saving the stabbed man by stemming the flow of blood from his chest but he has also had a couple of close calls with his own life.

In one incident, Mr Sipthorpe pulled over a car and the passenger brought out a shotgun on him.

In another, he was threatened with a knife.

Mr Sipthorpe – who as his day job worked as head porter at Great Ormond Street hospital and then as a mortuary attendant – also visited New York after 9/11 to remember the Brits who died in the attack.

He flew to the city every year for a decade for the commemorative events.

After a lustrous career , Mr Sipthorpe is leaving his role on Tuesday.

For information on the specials go to

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter