Portsmouth City Police hold 50-year anniversary reunion

(l-r) David Burgess, Tony Thompson, John Hyde, Laurie Davis, Bryan Scarth, Chris Scott and Mike Haycocks at the Portsmouth City Police reunion
(l-r) David Burgess, Tony Thompson, John Hyde, Laurie Davis, Bryan Scarth, Chris Scott and Mike Haycocks at the Portsmouth City Police reunion
Benjamin Peace

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THEY were a close-knit force that walked the streets of the city in the fight against crime.

And there were beaming faces at a reunion to mark the 50 years since the Portsmouth City Police ended as former colleagues met once again.

Around 160 former officers and partners were at the Marriott Hotel, in Southampton Road, on Friday to mark the date the force amalgamated with Hampshire police.

Gladys Howard, 100, the city’s first woman police inspector attended the occasion in Portsmouth.

She said: ‘It’s very interesting, I’ve seen a lot of people I knew that I’ve not seen for a long time.’

The city’s dedicated police force was established in 1836, but was merged into the county force in 1967.

Many who were at the reunion had continued their service in Hampshire police.

Organiser and group treasurer David Burgess joined as a cadet in 1967, leaving the county force in January this year as a civilian.

The 73-year-old, of Portchester, said it was a pleasure to see people who had trained them in the force.

He said: ‘They taught us everything the knew.

‘We were proud of them; there’s a lot of them not here.

‘As a result of what they did we will never forget.

‘That’s why we’ve got pride in the Portsmouth City Police, because we lived in Portsmouth and worked in Portsmouth.’

Each year since its demise former employees of Portsmouth City Police hold a reunion to mark the occasion.

Chris Scott, 77, of Cowplain, joined on November 21 in 1966, serving until 1989.

Former Royal Marine Mr Scott, who finished as a uniformed area beat officer covering Buckland, said: ‘We had to present ourselves in a smart and disciplined way. We looked after the public first.’

One fond memory from the force was winning a chief constable’s commendation after spotting a car on false plates – near his home.

Former chief superintendent Tony Thompson, of Titchfield Common, said: ‘It was a very small force, a very close-knit force and a very proud force.’