Tribute to West Midlands Police’s “Mr History”

A former West Midlands Police officer and curator of the force’s popular museum has died aged 72.

Dave – who passed away on Tuesday (Dec 13) after a long battle with cancer – joined Birmingham City Police as a Special Constable back in 1962 and joined the regular force three years later.

He retired in November 1994 but, during the final year of his service, had begun establishing the police museum in Sparkhill and quickly developed a comprehensive collection of artefacts chronicling law and order in the West Midlands.

It became a firm favourite among schoolchildren and community groups who were entertained by Dave’s animated, passionate and insightful accounts during regular guided tours of the plentiful exhibits.

He was also a font of knowledge for regional journalists who would make Dave a first port of call for stories with a historical slant – and they were always guaranteed an amusing anecdote thrown in for good measure!

In recent years, he’s been a commentator on the First World War centenary – recalling tales of one brave police officer who lost his leg in action but continued beat patrols with a wooden leg – and the TV resurgence of Birmingham gang Peaky Blinders.

In Dave’s own words the Peaky Blinders were more a “group of anti-social behaviour merchants” and not quite the hardened criminals depicted in the BBC drama.

West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner knew Dave well and paid tribute to a “larger than life character”.

She said: “The heritage collection Dave built up over 20 years is a testament to his passion for policing and is a fitting legacy to the immense difference Dave has made.

“Despite retirement, Dave’s association with the museum and love for the force continued in a voluntary capacity and he spent a considerable amount of his own time developing the collection.

“Our thoughts are with Dave’s wife Val and their children, Heather and Philip at this sad time.”

As a tribute to Dave the West Midlands Police flag will be flown at half-mast over Sparkhill police station until his funeral.

Source:: West Midlands Police News

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