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‘No bad people in south Armagh’, claims award winning officer!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

THE recipient of a Queen's Police Medal (QPM) in the New Year's Honour's list has insisted: "There are no bad people in south Armagh."

Sergeant Sam Hoey has worked in the Newry and south Armagh area since 2003, where he has been instrumental in bringing about changes to the patrolling style in the area since the withdrawal of military support in 2007.

Fifty-year-old Sergeant Hoey, who previously built aeroplanes for Shorts, was a police reservist in the early 90s in Rathfriland and joined the regular force in 1992.

After a stint in Cookstown, he came back to Newry in 2001, and after working in Newry, he then worked in Bessbrook, Crossmaglen and Newtownhamilton.

When the army were leaving, he helped form a neighbourhood team from the old Bessbrook police station.

He is currently in Crossmaglen, where he also looked after a police neighbourhood team.

He says that he has seen a lot of changes in the area, but early on in his time there he recognised that there were "a lot of very, very good people" in south Armagh.

“When the army and all were still there, I would have been going back and forward to England to go over and talk to them before they came over," he said.

“That was my big thing - every time you speak to someone, it makes an impression. But I said not everybody is a bad person - there's a lot of very good people down there.

“I'll give you one example. Whenever my wife Diane died in 2010, I came back to work and a lot of people, who I would have thought would not have bothered with me when the troubles were on - they sent me cards, they openly hugged me in the street.

“That's the sort of image that I would always want to portray of south Armagh. I talk about there being no bad people in south Armagh.

“They're all good people - I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. I absolutely love it down there."

Sergeant Hoey said the award of his medal came out of the blue when the Deputy Chief Constable came down to see him and told him about it just before Christmas.

“It's a fantastic honour and I'm very humbled," he said.

“I'm a bit shocked because I'm not one for the limelight.

“To be honest, I've been very fortunate - the people that I've worked with, my colleagues and my bosses have been very good and very supportive.

“This award is not just for me, it's for everybody. I love my job - I wouldn't want to be anything else."

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