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Longest serving Special Constable to retire after 46 years

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North Yorkshire Police's longest serving Special Constable, Richmond-based Alan Simpson, is due to retire after 46 years of voluntary policing.

Alan, who rose to the ranks of Special Inspector, joined the Special Constabulary on 2 February 1970, four years before North Yorkshire Police were formed, when Edison Lighthouse were number one in the charts and Chrysler launched their Hillman Avenger. He will retire on 2 February 2016.

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He joined York and North East Yorkshire Constabulary after his snooker partner, who was a regular officer and also based at Richmond, nagged him over a period of time. “The next thing I knew was the village bobby turning up at the house with the all the paper work,” said Alan.

“My mum did quite a bit of volunteering for the civil defence and Women’s Voluntary Services at the time, learning how to make soup kitchens out of dustbins and things like that, so I suppose she might have influenced me a bit” he added.

Alan was attested in the farmhouse kitchen of the local Justice of the Peace, who he knew well as a neighbouring farmer, and whose son was also a special.

Speaking about his long service, Alan said: “Yes it’s true that I have been in for a long time, but I don’t see myself as being any more worthy than someone who has served ten, fifteen or twenty years in the specials and then subsequently retired or resigned because of personal circumstances.

“My personal circumstances and location have played a large part in my long service, living only half a mile from the station. I count myself very fortunate in that others have had to travel much greater distances to perform duty and with a greater disruption to their day job and family life.

“I would say that one of the main things that has kept me chipping away over the years was the constant support, help and friendliness of the regular officers who I have had the pleasure of working with. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking them sincerely for the help they have given us all. I am certain that that will continue as it always has done.

“I always had a policy of working with all the shifts never favouring one shift over another, consequently it made it very easy to work anytime I liked. I can’t recall a duty I did, no matter how short it was, when I didn’t have back up from the ‘regs’ should it be required, or that I wasn’t thanked for turning out by someone or other before I went home.”

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Alan’s day job revolved around farm work or farm building maintenance and construction, and he worked for a local contractor until he retired three years ago.

He describes some of his most memorable moments as a Special as ranging from disabling a burglar alarm twenty-five feet up a house gable end that was keeping every one awake at two in the morning, to breaking up numerous fights and brawls outside nightclubs and pubs over the years.

Alan’s advice to anyone joining today is get to know as many regulars as you can at your home station and go on duty with them. “There are many styles of policing and it enables one to witness quite a few of them,” he said.

Alan’s last day with North Yorkshire Police is 2 February after which he plans to jet off to New Zealand to visit his three brothers. And then, he says he might come back to NYP to do some volunteering!

Inspector Mark Gee of Richmond police, said: “Alan is a key member of the Richmondshire community. He is well known by local residents and provided a key link with people who live and work in the area. His knowledge of rural issues and support for Rural Watch made him a vital member of the team who contributed a huge amount in helping us keep the area safe.

“Alan is a true example of all that makes an exemplary Special Constable. He has been a great role model and mentor to both Special Constables and Regular officers and I, alongside my colleagues wish Alan all the very best in retirement.”

Chief Constable Dave Jones thanked Alan for his service to the communities of North Yorkshire. He said: “46 years as a Special Constable is a truly outstanding achievement. My thanks go to Alan for his commitment to policing in North Yorkshire, he is a great inspiration to us all. I wish him a very well-deserved and relaxing retirement.”

If you want to follow in Alan’s footsteps, North Yorkshire Police are now recruiting Special Constables. For more information and to apply visit www.nypspecials.com

Recruitment closes at 9am on 1 February 2016.

“Specials” as they are known, come from all walks of life and backgrounds, they volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a month to policing. North Yorkshire Police has 198 Specials and are looking to recruit at least another 70 during this month’s recruitment campaign.

We are looking for people with good communication skills, who can work well in a team and who are resilient and able to cope with some of the difficult, and sometimes harrowing situations that officers have to deal with. We are also looking for new recruits who can speak a second language.

Last modified: May 23, 2016