A DEDICATED Clacks police officer who twice led award-winning investigations has retired last week after more than 30 years of service.

Inspector Charlie Mitchell officially joined the force in October 1988 after cadet training and was posted to Alloa as a uniform officer.

And 30 years to the date, he was surrounded by colleagues at the local police station as they sent him off following decades of policing which saw him in a variety of roles.

An “affable, knowledgeable and sensible” character, the then PC Mitchell received the Chief Constable’s Commendation six years into the job before completing his promotion exams with the highest pass rate in Scotland – meriting another award.

He soon became a detective, working with the Stirling Criminal Investigation Department (CID) before moving on to the Scottish Crime Squad in 1998.

After various roles, Charlie became a detective sergeant which saw him take up post at a number of places in the wider local area, including at Alloa CID.

It was at this time he took the lead role in an extensive and ground-breaking investigation that detected more than 200 offenders from across the UK, Europe and North America.

The team, under Charlie, looked into a series of sexual offences towards children on the internet, uncovering extensive criminality.

They identified around 450 victims, many subject to ongoing offending at the time.

A range of serious offenders, dealt with solely by the inquiry team, received sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment.

For the investigation the then detective sergeant received an award from the Prince’s Trust.

A further award from the same trust came when Charlie led an investigation into a serious organised crime group, who were bringing people into Scotland illegally for prostitution by exploiting a legal loophole and running a shady business worth a million pounds each year.

This was, as the Advertiser understands, the first major investigation of this type in Scotland, closing 20 brothels and rescuing countless victims.

Having become a detective inspector, he later returned to his roots, becoming the community inspector for Alloa – his most recent role.

His most recent commanding officer, Chief Inspector Drew Sinclair, told the Advertiser: “I have had the pleasure of working with Charlie who has served the communities of Clackmannanshire for the past seven years, three with me.

“He is one of the most affable, knowledgeable and sensible characters I have ever worked with.

“Charlie fostered great relationships with partners and was highly thought of in the community planning and public protection arenas.

“I thank him for his service and wish him the very best for the future.”