One of Mansfield’s most well-known police officers has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to the force.
Retired Mansfield South beat officer PC Diederik Coetzee, was presented with a Certificate of Merit during the Police Force’s Annual Awards ceremony at London’s Albert Hall on Monday.
Diederik was hailed as a ‘supercop’ and ‘Robocop’ in national news coverage in 2005 for having a record arrest rate.
But the record-breaking cop’s career was cruelly cut short after he was hit by a vehicle as he cycled along Blidworth Lane, near Rainworth, while off-duty in November 2011.
He told Chad: “It was so great to be recognised by my colleagues for having made a difference to Mansfield.
“I miss policing so much because you get to meet so many different people when you are working.
“Anyone who wants to join the police force should do it because it is such a good career. You make of the job what you want - and I wanted to arrest all the bad guys in Mansfield.”
Diederik was forced to retire in August due to the permanence of the injuries he sustained during the hit and run incident.
But he is determined not to give up on policing entirely and hopes to continue in a volunteering capacity.
He added: “My daughter has started work as a PCSO and I would really like to accompany her but the injuries to my eye and leg mean this is not possible.”
At the time of the collision Nottinghamshire Police received ‘hundreds’ of messages of support from the public along with a surge of goodwill from colleagues in the force.
Diederik was struck by a vehicle from behind which then sped off.
The driver, Mitchel Graham of Grange Road, Blidworth, was jailed for 15 months and disqualified from driving for five years as a result of leaving Diederik for dead.
Said Diederik: “I was critical for a few weeks after the accident then I was in Ashfield Hospital for a few months before going to Northampton for 16 weeks’ rehabilitation.
“It was not nice being away from my family for so long. It put an end to my career, my training and everything.
“My leg and eye give me a lot of trouble now and I just wonder if the guy who did this realises what he has done to me.
“He was given a sentence of 15 months imprisonment but ended up serving just a few months.”