A CELEBRATION of a century and a half of policing in Huntingdonshire is being held on Sunday with music and an exhibition of historic photographs. A garden party and hog roast will mark 150 years since the foundation of Huntingdon Police, and 25 years si

Huntingdonshire police headquarters was in High Street, Huntingdon, between 1857 and 1881.

A CELEBRATION of a century and a half of policing in Huntingdonshire is being held on Sunday with music and an exhibition of historic photographs.

A garden party and hog roast will mark 150 years since the foundation of

Huntingdon Police, and 25 years since the Old Huntingdonshire Constabulary Association - formed 10 years after the old Huntingdonshire force was absorbed into Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Among those present will be Derek Baker, from Little Paxton, a youthful 80, who still goes sequence dancing with Jessie, his wife for over 60 years.

In 1954 the Huntingdonshire force met George Formby.
He had been in a car accident along the Great North Road near Conington. No one was injured and Mr Formby was able to crack a few jokes with police officers. This is a picture taken at the scene, as we

Derek was enlisted into the old Huntingdon Police Force aged 21 when he was standing at a bus-stop having been de-mobbed after the Second World War.

He said: "I was standing at a bus stop going to Brampton when this police officer stopped and said: 'Where are you going, lad?'

"He wanted me to take the test that day but I said I was getting married and I had better see if my future wife wanted to be married to a police officer.

"It was wonderful, I joined in Huntingdon as a traffic PC. There were only two patrol cars, Wolseley 18s. I got a first class pass in my advance driving in 1950.

"In those days you did split shifts 6am to 10am and then 10pm to 2am or 1pm to 4pm or 5pm until midnight. You rarely did a straight eight-hour shift. Your whole life revolved round the police force.

"You worked seven days before you got a day off and you worked seven weeks before you got a weekend.

"You had to get permission to get married, and wives had to be vetted. If you were going on holiday, you had to request absence from your station and your normal place of abode and you had to give the address of where you were staying."

Mr Baker remembered that his colleagues always seemed to know where you were and you could be on call at any time.

"I remember sitting on a bus going to Brampton with my wife and I got hauled off the bus and into a police car.

"The bus driver said: 'Well, are you getting back on or not?'and I said I don't know yet. My wife was left on the bus not knowing where I was going or when she was going to see me again. I can't remember what the job was now."

Mr Baker said in those days relationships seemed much more amicable between the police and offenders.

"It seems strange to say but there were 'good' criminals. There would be regulars who would say 'it's a fair cop, mate' and hold their hands up.

"There was one case at RAF Alconbury where some money disappeared. I was in the CID and caught a man with a lot of US dollars. He admitted the theft and got about six months inside.

"Five or six months later, after he had come out of prison, I saw him with his wife and children in the high street and he said to his wife: 'Oh, this is Mr Baker that dealt with my case' and there we were shaking hands. There was no animosity on either side. It was all very convivial."

The reunion on Sunday will be at the home of former police officer, David Dodman, and his wife, Pamela, at The Old Vicarage in Diddington.

Mr Dodman, now in his 70s, was a police officer for 30 years.

He said: "In our day, there was respect and discipline."

Some 140 people are expected to be entertained with a hog roast and Somersham Town Band.

Fact file:

1829 Robert Peel forms the Metropolitan Police in London.

1857 Counties are told to follow suit and Huntingdonshire Constabulary is formed.

1965 Huntingdonshire is merged into Mid Anglia Police Force.

1972 Cambridgeshire Constabulary is formed.