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Serving Officers are supposed to get permission (from HQ) to provide any sort of personal reference as I understand it. Retired senior officers/supervisors do not have to so that could be an option. If a prospective employer will not accept the certificate of service then I suppose the HR dept is the only other possible source.
I found myself called to occupational health dept for a medical - I was nearing 30 yrs service (was at Sgt rank) but had no immediate health problems and no fitness issues had been mentioned by anyone. While at the medical I just happened to see my Inspectors name and personal mobile number written on a piece of paper in my file. When I challenged why the Inspectors details were present in the file people got very red faces, declined to answer but I was later told the Insp had referred me for the medical. I asked the Insp why only to be told that I was obviously suffering from stress! The Inspector then let the shift know this was her opinion. What was the real reason - I had told my Inspector that they were foolish to contemplate a relationship with a probationer pc on the shift and that if they did I wouldnt be allowing the pc any special favours! It will come as no surprise that one of us moved stations in the next few months. Did anyone of higher rank than Insp give a monkeys - of course not.