Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

There is always an uncertainty after you’re restored. The time between your last backup and the point when you died is an unknown. You can get various synopses if you ask, and you can catch up with the events via media reports or conversations with those who saw you. But you weren’t there. It can be difficult to reconcile.

“Finally, for conspicuous gallantry in the face of overwhelming odds: for giving his life to save his comrades, I award this Conciliator Star to Officer Banto Rhees.”

I never thought of myself as a hero. Never considered myself to have the right mindset to plunge into a room full of drug-crazed Neo-Jamaican heavies, taking multiple hits before using one of their own grenades to take them all out, allowing my team to use that gap in the encirclement to escape their own certain deaths.

Police work never gets any easier. I hear that even the rural beats have drug labs and water smugglers to deal with, these days. It’s a thankless task, bringing law to the lawless while politicians, press and custodians watch for the slightest deviance from their perceptions of ‘proper police procedure’.

My grandfather came to the UK from Nigeria in search of a police force that wasn’t venal and corrupt. By and large, he found it. My dad served until his retirement, and I went into the police after two years in the army, having gone in straight from college. You could say that police work is in my blood. You would also be right in saying detective work is in my blood, as my dad spent thirty years as one.

Thirty years. Plus a decade of my own experience. So when I checked my comrades’ reports of my heroic demise and found that they were identical, one of my father’s first lessons came to me: “Witnesses never see the same thing. They never say the same thing, either. Unless they practice their stories. Which always means the witnesses have something to hide.”

I have a medal and a team who actively assisted – or caused – my heroic death in the line of duty. I think I shall use the commendation to facilitate me following in my father’s footsteps: a transfer from Armed Response to New Scotland Yard. Then I shall investigate just how many murderers are hiding behind my medal.

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