Last week, PC Rich Farrar retired from North Yorkshire Police following over 26 years of service. Before he left we asked him to tell us about some of his highlights.
Here he looks back on his career, talks about what he thinks it’ll be like to walk out of the police station one last time and tells us the advice his father gave him on his passing out day back in 1992.
“I left my home town of York after finishing school and York Technical College as a fresh faced 18 year-old to head down to the ‘big smoke’ of London Town to join the Metropolitan Police Cadets at Hendon. It was July 1991 when Bryan Adams, (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, spent 16 weeks at number 1.
“By August 1992 I started training school and 20 weeks later I was posted to stoke Newington, Hackney in East London where, over the five years of being posted there, I was involved in murders, armed robberies, shootings, prostitution, drugs, and gang land killings. Coming from York and Heartbeat country this was a culture shock aged 19.
“Five years later, in 1997, I transferred to the North/East London Territorial Support Group, the unit tasked with securing the capital against terrorism, responding to disorder anywhere within London and reducing priority crime through borough support. Sadly, shortly after a joining, a colleague and good friend of mine, WPC Nina Mackay, was fatally stabbed by a man with paranoid schizophrenia who she was attempting to arrest. To receive that phone call in the early hours from a colleague to say that Nina had been fatally stabbed will remain with me forever. She was only 25 years old.
“In April 2001 I transferred back to my home town of York working on Uniformed Response. I recall been handed an A-Z road map of York and a set of van keys by my Sergeant and told ‘Welcome to North Yorkshire. Away you go.’
“I became part of the North Yorkshire Police Under Water Search Unit (UWSU) in 2002 involved in body recoveries from water and other specialist searches gathering evidence at scenes of serious crimes. We would also be used in the search for high risk missing persons and assist in the ever regular county’s floods.
“In August 2014, I was posted to York North, Safer Neighbourhood Area Team as a Service Delivery Officer working alongside PCSO’s where I have remained until retiring. One of the times I’ll always remember is helping to evacuate local residents in Tadcaster as the River Wharfe burst its banks at Christmas in 2015. The river took everything in its path. Watching it creep along the road and around buildings and we couldn’t do anything to stop its devastation but to watch.
“In my time with North Yorkshire Police I have received a number of awards including two Chief Constable’s Commendations in 2003 and 2018; a National Police Bravery Award in 2004 which was awarded by then Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, a Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in 2013, and a Director’s Commendation in 2014.
“In November 2017 I was also kindly nominated and very proud to win a Courage Award and the North Yorkshire Police Public Choice Award for restraining and disarming a man who was attempting to steal a bike in York City Centre on a busy Saturday September night in 2015 who unbeknown to me at the time was armed with a 12” butchers knife down the back of his trousers.
“Ironically, this award came 20 years after the tragic death of my colleague Nina in London and so I dedicated my award to her in her memory.
“Following this award I’m due to represent North Yorkshire Police in the annual National Police Bravery Awards in July this year at 10 Downing Street – my second National Police Bravery Award, the first been 14 years ago as previously mentioned.
“To be recognised over the years and to receive two National Police Bravery Awards and the Public Choice Award is truly humbling and I am very honoured to be nominated for it again. A fantastic and very proud end to my memorable Police Service.
“After 26 years of police service both serving in The Met and here in North Yorkshire I can truly say I have loved being part of the police family through good times and the bad, the happy times and the sad, the frustrating times and the rewarding times. I have loved every minute. I have seen the police service, nationally change so much for many different reasons over the years but I can honestly say it is the best job in the world to be a part of.
“I recall having my photo taken beneath the statue of Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern British Policing, at Hendon Police College on my passing out day back in 1992 believing that I had 30 years of Policing to give ahead of me. I remember my father saying to me, “Enjoy it because your 30 years will fly by” – I didn’t believe it.
“Sadly after 26 years I’m retiring and unable to get to the end of my 30 years due to ill health over recent years suffering with a type of Multiple Sclerosis and unable to do the job I signed up to do anymore.
“I will miss ‘the job’, ‘the policing family’ and the remarkable, amazing and inspirational colleagues, past and present, the brave colleagues and friends who are sadly no longer with us that I had the pleasure to work alongside and meet over the last quarter of a century – so I honour them.
“From day one I was proud and passionate to put on ‘the uniform’. On my final day I will be even prouder to put it on. The moment I close 405 Rich Farrar’s locker door for the last time will be a difficult and emotional one for me, walking out of the police station into the street as a member of the public that I served and protected myself. I will then become one myself.
“If I can give any words of advice. Just remember. “Enjoy it because it will fly by”. It will, I promise you.
“You will see and do things that ordinary members of the public will never experience in their life time. Enjoy every moment through both the good and the bad times. No two days will ever be the same!
“After my retirement I will be putting my knowledge and experience, and a lot of ‘swinging of the lamp’ and stories back into North Yorkshire Police and hopefully coming back to assist as a volunteer North Yorkshire Police Cadet Leader.”
Pictured below, from top to bottom.
- ‘Metropolitan Police Cadets 1991 (aged 18)’
- ‘Meeting the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair in 2004 as I received my first National Police Bravery Award for disturbing and disarming a violent burglar armed with a spiked medieval Mace.’
- ‘The very old North Yorkshire Police Underwater Search Unit vehicle that we use to have’.
- ‘Tadcaster Floods December 2015’
- ‘Struggling unknowingly with an armed bike thief, in possession of a 12” butchers knife.’
- ‘My final photo January 2018 (fast forward 25+ years on from my first photo. (now aged ??)’
Last modified: March 15, 2018