A ‘LEGENDARY’ police officer who has worked in Oxford for more than two decades will sign off from duty for the last time today.

But his colleagues won’t be able to say a proper goodbye after Boris Johnson put the country in lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Mark Brock rose through the ranks in Thames Valley Police after joining the force in 1995.

He started on the beat in Cowley before joining the pro-active team and then working as a neighbourhood sergeant in Blackbird Leys.

He later spent 10 years with the firearms department, before he was promoted to an inspector rank which took him back to frontline policing in Cowley.

Now a quarter of a century later, Mr Brock will be handing over his badge number and enjoying the quieter life of retirement.

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But his colleagues from across the force, some already retired and others new, won’t be able to give him the send-off he deserves as they are not allowed to get together in the same room in fear of spreading coronavirus through key-workers.

His boss, the local police commander for Oxford, superintendent Joe Kidman said he will be ‘sorely missed’.

He said: “Mark has provided excellent service to both the City of Oxford, and the wider Thames Valley, across Armed Policing, Neighbourhood and Response roles. He is well known for build esprit de corps among his team and has been a role model for other inspectors in his leadership of a high performing response team.

“His confidence in command, common sense and warm support for his team and colleagues will be sorely missed. We wish him a very happy and fulfilling retirement.”

Mr Brock hit the headlines in 2012 after he risked his life by bravely wading into the icy waters of the River Cherwell to drag a suicidal woman to safety.


He and colleague PC Aidan Donohoe thought nothing of throwing off their jackets and jumping into the water at 3.30am on the January morning, even though the temperature was -2.6C.

At the time he described the ordeal to this paper, explaining he had ‘no choice’ but to go in after her, adding: “It was so cold it took my breath away.”

Mr Brock, who has two teenager sons with his wife Sarajane, was also based in Blackbird Leys when the future of the police base was up in the air in 2013.


Crime rates had fallen across the suburb when he and his team moved into the station off Blackbird Leys Road, but TVP announced plans to close it down to save around £12,000 a year.

However after coming to a rent deal, the base stayed open heads of councils and residents praised the move – saying a police presence would reduce the anti-social behaviour and make people feel safer.

During the 25 years that he has worked for the force, the 49-year-old has been given several awards and was even put as the leader of the Encaenia Parade, an ancient Oxford University awards ceremony, in June last year.

But unlike some of his colleagues Mr Brock hadn’t always dreamed of becoming a police officer.

He had started in the Military, working through the First Gulf War, as a chef when he was 15 years old.

It was only when he needed the police on holiday with his wife that the 'friendly' officers 'planted seeds' in his head for his next career move.

Mrs Brock said that after 25 years in the force, he is known as a ‘legend’ and will know spending his retirement doing things he loves like kayaking with friends and colleagues, riding his motorbike, deep sea fishing and generally keeping fit.