A POPULAR police officer dedicated to her community has retired after 22 years in the job.
Sgt Lesley Meenaghan joined Hampshire police in 1995 and has served Gosport since 2002, with an earlier stint in 1997.
Now the 50-year-old, who lives in Gosport with her partner and two French bulldogs Claude and Violet, has spoken of her ‘privilege’ at working in the town.
She said: ‘I feel very content, I’ve done so long in uniform, I think it’s about time to stop doing it. I would really say it has been an absolute privilege.
‘Being a police officer is a privilege and I’ve loved my time in Gosport.
‘I’ll carry on caring about the people here.’
Sgt Meenaghan, of Gosport Neighbourhood Team, had her last day on the beat yesterday.
She has worked in a variety of uniformed and plainclothes roles in areas including Portsmouth and Havant, including in child protection and domestic violence.
Sgt Meenaghan has largely worked in Gosport. And after decades in the job, her top advice remains: lock it or lose it.
She added: ‘I think if you live where you work it’s not a job.
‘It’s my community, it’s where I live and that’s why I care so much.’
Before joining Hampshire Constabulary in 1995, Sgt Meenaghan, who is set to work for charity Motiv8, had served in the RAF and navy.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage praised her for her service to the community.
Ms Dinenage added: ‘She is a very familiar face for people who live in the area of Gosport.
‘Lesley was well known and well liked and will be greatly missed.
‘We wish her a happy retirement.’
Chief inspector Clare Jenkins, who worked with Lesley, said: ‘Lesley has dedicated herself to public service for many years and her achievements across three uniformed services over the last 33 years are to be commended.
‘The reaction to our social media messages on her last day on duty, including from partner agencies, members of the public, and MP Caroline Dinenage, are testament to how well regarded she is in the local community.’
Chief Insp Hawkins added: ‘We’d like to wish Lesley and her family all the best for the future.’