Class of ’66

As part of our 50th Anniversary of Devon and Cornwall Police, which amalgamated on the 1st June 1967, we are celebrating three members of staff who were serving the Force pre-amalgamation.

Brian Tapley, Jim Shand and Reg Davison all joined in 1966 and between them have racked up over 153 years of police service. Here they tell us more about their time with Devon and Cornwall Police:

Brian Tapley November 1966 – present

“I joined the Devon and Exeter Constabulary on the 18th November 1966 as a PC and trained at Chantmarle in Dorset. I was then posted to Paignton followed by Torquay.

“I later worked in Paignton and Brixham as a Detective Constable before promotion to uniform Sergeant at Newton Abbot. This included a period prosecuting within the old Magistrate Courts at Newton Abbot and Teignmouth.

“I returned to CID and was based at Paignton as a Detective Sgt where I was tasked to set up the first dedicated Child Abuse investigation Unit, which was a pilot for Child Protection teams, after which I worked as a divisional D/Sgt and Acting Detective Inspector.

“During all of these periods I was often seconded to other parts of the Force during major enquiries. I later worked at HQ setting up the prison liaison roles and afterwards was posted to the Crown Courts with a brief to civilianise the police teams.

“I retired in March 1998 and continued as a Civilian employee from April of that year managing both the teams based in the Crown Courts in Devon and Cornwall and liaising with the partner agencies involved therein. From 2005 I also undertook the role of manager of the witness care units Forcewide. I have been fortunate to represent the Force at various sports over the years and also been the governor schools in Torbay.

“I consider myself fortunate to have fully enjoyed my career both as a police officer and civilian employee something few people are lucky enough to achieve.

“At the time of the amalgamation I was a patrol constable at Paignton which was one of the National Unit Beat Policing pilots and instead of the original pushbikes we had three white police minivans, a GUO 898, 899 and 900 D. The rules were that we were allowed to drive for no longer than 15 minutes in any hour and must walk for the remaining 45 minutes. Amazing how you could pour a 6ft 5ins officer into the back of a minivan, even worse trying to get an unruly prisoner into one (they didn’t travel across the beach very well either!)”

Jim Shand May 1966 – present

“I joined on 20th May 1966. I went to Chantmarle Police Training Centre in deepest Dorset. On leaving there I was posted to Plympton, which at the time was the pits as well. The A38 at that time ran through the town and not around the outside. In the fifteen months or so I spent there I dealt with loads of accidents, and two crimes, which I still remember – theft of milk money, and theft of some garden gnomes, both undetected.

“I then went on to Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, then back to Exmouth again and for a short while in 1980 to Exeter, where I stayed until joining Comms in 1993. I stayed there drinking tea and eating biscuits until I retired in 1996. I came back the next day after retiring, in different uniform as a Resource Deployment Officer and continued to drink tea and eat biscuits. I’m still there now.”

Reg Davison March 1966 – present

“I joined the Cornwall Constabulary as a Police Cadet on the 7th March 1966. I signed the Official Secrets Act and the training Sergeant said, “Sonny, you will have nothing to do with politics.

“I would have been on the annual one month Cadet Camp on Dartmoor, living under canvas and undertaking long expeditions so I was not involved directly in the Amalgamation. It passed me by, except at the time, in Cornwall we were all convinced it was a takeover by the Devon and Exeter Constabulary.

“I have many memorable anecdotes, here are a few: Royal visits wearing my best suit and doing searches in dusty places and having a coloured pin in my lapel so that the armed protection people knew I was one of them, Fleetwood Mac at Pennycross Stadium in Plymouth, Operation Julie (a national drugs bust), The 1970’s Irish ‘Troubles’, checking ships at Falmouth, being flown to The Hague to arrange the importation of 500 kg of cannabis, entertaining Tommy Cooper. The list goes on.”

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

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