Civilian medal honour for Honiton man

Paul Biddle MBE receives civilian service medal for his work in Afghanistan.

Fresh from working in Iraq, a prospective candidate for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall from Honiton collected a civilian service medal.

Paul Biddle MBE attended a special ceremony at the Houses of Parliament and was presented with the new civilian service medal for his work in Afghanistan in 2005 and 2006 by Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish.

“I am immensely proud of this medal. It represents a difficult and challenging period in my life which I hope proved to be a platform for others to build on,” says Mr Biddle.

Mr Biddle previously worked in Iraq and for the Palestinian Authority, before being asked to go to Afghanistan on a counter narcotics programme, where he worked with the US Drugs Enforcement Agency and the British Embassy’s drugs unit.

However, it was not all plain sailing as he was caught up in a suicide bombing on Jallahbad Road in November 2005, and in May 2006 had to be smuggled out in the boot of a taxi to a safe compound after riots erupted in Kabul.

Mr Biddle even had to hide on the roof of a United Nations compound building from rioters after the security guards fled after riots following the publication of a controversial Danish cartoon.

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He had a further lucky escape in February 2006 when a rocket, which was fired at the Intercontinental, missed and hit his accommodation.

During his time in Kabul Mr Biddle was asked by President Karzai to help with negotiations when the Taliban took control of Pul-e-Charkhi - a high security prison just outside the city.

He was cited for his brave conduct by Major General Lane Deputy Commander ISAF and Phil Wheatley the then Director General of the prison service after its successful completion.

Mr Biddle returned to Afghanistan in 2009 with the UN where he provided advice on provincial justice and counter-terrorism. He was also part of the international security for UN election monitors during the presidential elections.