A police community support officer (PCSO) from Swindon is celebrating after displaying her show jumping skills to the Queen while competing in her first ever police event at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
PCSO Annabel Twiddy, of the West Swindon Neighbourhood Policing Team, joined Wiltshire Police as a Special Constable in May 2013 and five months later secured a position within the control room as a dispatch assistant and 999 call handler. In January 2015, she started training as a PCSO before joining the West sector team on 30th March 2015.
A keen horse rider, she previously represented England Under 18s in show jumping and has continued her love of the sport whilst being a valued member of the NPT in West Swindon.
“I have ridden since before I could walk,” she said. “I used to compete and breed horses full time but when the recession came around, unfortunately I had to sell all my horses bar one, which took me from 13 to one.
“In 2014, I approached Wiltshire Police’s Saddle Club to see if we had any other keen show jumpers in the force that may like to represent Wiltshire Police. Unfortunately, after writing to various people in the force, it seemed that nobody else was in a position to compete.”
In 2015, following a lot of research, PCSO Twiddy found an external organisation called Forces Equine who organise teams and various events for serving officers. This enabled PCSO Twiddy to compete on a mixed police team, with officers from Avon and Somerset and Derbyshire.
“I wrote to the Deputy Chief Constable Mike Veale for permission to represent the force and wear a Wiltshire Police uniform,” added Alison. “Permission and uniform was granted – I had a special PCSO tunic made for me and I was issued with a hat band and badge for my riding hat.”
On 16th May 2015, PCSO Twiddy competed at the Royal Windsor Horse Show with Forces Equine, representing Wiltshire Police, and beat off competition from 98 others, to win individually, although no individual prizes were given. Her individual performance resulted in PCSO Twiddy’s team achieving sixth place out of a total of 33 teams.
“All three members of each team jumped, and then the top 12 teams went into a jump off in the afternoon where Her Majesty The Queen came to watch. Our team qualified, and I was put forward to jump again,” she said. “As a result of my performance, I’ve now been invited to represent the UK Mainland forces in Guernsey in August. Our team has also qualified for the Forces Equine Championships.
“It was a true honour to present Wiltshire in front of the Queen, and I am so proud to have ridden for the force. I can’t wait to do it again soon.”