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UK Retired Police Officer Receives Top Sikh Honour

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A POLICE officer has been presented with a ceremonial ‘Kirpan’ sword – one of the highest honours in Sikh culture – in recognition of his work with a Coventry temple.

Paul McNamara, who retired recently from the Lower Stoke neighbourhood police team, was presented with the Kirpan, plus a plaque and traditional Sikh scarf, by members of the Guru Hargobind Sahib centre in Coventry Street, Stoke.

A spokesman from Coventry Police explained the temple has been the focus of a long-standing dispute over recent years which led to congregation members being threatened and windows smashed.

PC McNamara adopted the temple’s cause four years ago in an attempt to reassure and protect its members.

The 55-year-old regularly attended prayer sessions to prevent disorder, stepped up local patrols, investigated attacks on the temple, and negotiated mediation between temple officials and suspected troublemakers.

Navreet Singh, head of the Guru Hargobind Sahib Sikh temple, said: “We’re eternally grateful to Paul and the work he has done.

"He made it a professional and personal mission to solve the problems we’d been experiencing. The number of incidents has reduced considerably thanks to his efforts and we all feel much safer.

“Being presented with a Kirpan from the Sikh community is a great honour – it is not given out often.

“But we all felt the officer’s dedication to our cause was worthy of such recognition.”

PC McNamara’s own knowledge of Sikh culture and tradition has vastly improved since working with the temple – and he’s vowed not to become a stranger at the centre now that he’s retired after 22 years of police service.

He said: “It was a big surprise to receive the presentation – I thought I was popping into the temple just to say a few goodbyes.

“I now understand the meaning of the Kirpan – and the orange scarf which is a guru symbol – so it’s very flattering that the congregation deem my work worthy of the honour.”

A community support officer will take on Paul’s work and will continue acting as a point of contact for the temple.



Read More http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/2011/04/28/retired-police-officer-receives-top-sikh-honour-92746-28598383/#ixzz1KrlyKh4J
 

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