Taking advice from rabbis and being the special guest at a strictly Orthodox celebration of Torah study might be surprising highlights of a 30-year career in the police force.
But that is true of PC Chris Grayshon, who has received 20 commendations for his police work, largely protecting Jewish neighbourhoods in north Manchester. His most serious injury, resulting in a week in intensive care, was from an operation to clear a Cheetham Hill drug house close to Jewish dwellings.
Now to mark his retirement, the Prestwich Shomrim neighbourhood watch group is holding a tribute ceremony on Saturday evening.
“Before I joined the force, I worked for all the [local] Jewish caterers,” PC Grayshon, 53, recalled. “As a policeman, people are surprised how I know my way around the local shuls, including their kitchens.”
He has worked with the Community Security Trust to establish hate crime reporting centres at Jewish shops and ways that Orthodox Jews can report incidents on Shabbat without having to phone or write. “It was about breaking down barriers because if we didn’t know about antisemitic incidents, we couldn’t do anything about it.”
He earned a superintendent’s commendation for chasing down two machete-wielding robbers across Whitefield Jewish Golf Club 18 months ago. But he could not attend the award ceremony as he was working nights in a bid to catch serial burglars who were entering the properties of Jewish families while the occupants slept.
However, he cites his proudest moments as “a personal invitation to a mishnayot learning award ceremony and having consultations with rabbis. That’s the kind of thing I take to heart, not just the normal job of arresting people, but the little things to show I’ve become part of the community.”
Shomrim head Norman Younger commended the PC’s work as “an outstanding example of what community policing can achieve”.