john geden

John Geden

Born in Kent in 1966 John joined the British Army in 1983, he served in a variety of operational theatres including the conflict in Northern Ireland and in 1989 after a gruelling year at Sandhurst he was commissioned into the Corps of Royal Military Police. He completed roles as an Operations officer, Platoon Commander and latterly he commanded the para provost an elite unit of Military Police embedded within the UK’s airborne forces brigade.

In 1992 he married his wife Jo and resigned his commission; he then spent the next 22 years as a police officer in Hampshire Police. The first half of his career was spent as a uniformed officer in a variety of roles including traffic motorcyclist, family liaison officer, hostage negotiator and custody officer. In 2004 he was promoted to Detective Inspector and spent the remainder of his career investigating serious and complex crime including child homicide and kidnap. He spent two years away from Hampshire seconded to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) part of the National Crime Agency in Pimlico. In this role he travelled extensively across the globe bringing child sex offenders to justice and safeguarding vulnerable children.

In 2011 he was awarded a travelling Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Fund in order to research legal powers to prevent child sex tourism; he used the results from this research as a basis for a master’s degree for which he was awarded a distinction. He was one of a select group of professionals who were at the heart of creating tougher UK legislation and his research named in parliamentary debates. He travelled across the world delivering lectures and training including to the Australian Federal Police in Gold Coast and the FBI at Quantico as well as many UK and foreign Universities.

During his time at CEOP John mainly operated in Cambodia, a country torn apart by civil war in the recent decades and owing to weak legislation and corruption became an attractive location for those intent on abusing vulnerable children. He aligned himself with a leading charity and in 2012 began travelling to the country, initially alone and during his leave periods, to deliver training to Cambodian police officers on serious crime investigation techniques. He soon realised that he could not do it all alone and so press-ganged other Hampshire police officers to assist in the project. In June 2019 Johns work was recognised by the Cambodian Government and he was awarded the second highest civil honour, the Order of Sahametrei (Grand Officer) in respect of this work

In 2014 John retired from Hampshire Police; after 32 years of military and police service he was physically and mentally broken. His service had taken its toll and he was diagnosed with complex PTSD a result of years of exposure to violent and disturbing scenes. In 1995 he suffered a serious physical injury in a paragliding accident and so the mental torture was being exacerbated by his physical injuries which as age progressed were becoming more serious.

It was then that he turned his attention to beekeeping, a passion that he had enjoyed since 1992 when he was first introduced to the fascinating world of bees; since that time, he has built a hobby into a successful bee-farming business and with nearly 200 colonies of bees to manage his company Sinah Common Honey produces around 2.5 tons of delicious local raw honey

John works hard to support local charities and central to that is his passion for ‘Help For Heroes’, a charity that supports former colleagues through physical and mental challenges resulting from conflict. John runs a very successful beekeeping programme for the charity. Supported by leading beekeeping organisations and businesses such as BJ Sherriff, Thorne, Maisemore Apiaries and the BBKA. This course is now in its fifth year and over 60 veterans have received training many have gone on to take up the hobby with a few now using it as a means of earning a partial income to supplement war pensions and disability grants. In April 2019 John won the Soldiering On- Community Impact Award in recognition of this work

John lives in Hayling Island with his wife Jo and daughters Eleanor and Mollie all who assist in some way in supporting Sinah Common Honey.