Retired police officers have marked the 50th anniversary of the old Shropshire Constabulary merging with three other forces to become West Mercia.
West Mercia Police Force came into existence on October 1, 1967 with the amalgamation of the old Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Worcester City forces.
A special lunch for officers serving in the Shropshire Constabulary at that time was held at The Wroxeter Hotel near Shrewsbury and was attended by 79 people, including 48 of those former officers.
Retired West Mercia Superintendent Jim Ashley, who lives near Whitchurch and is a member of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), said the event was not so much about marking 50 years of West Mercia but more about those officers who were serving in Shropshire at the time of the merger.
“The amalgamation was a big thing for the four police forces at that time and as the 50th anniversary approached we discovered that no one up this end in Shropshire was planning anything so I kick-started it, advertised it and the result was a get-together at The Wroxeter Hotel,” he said.
“NARPO has a meal quarterly at The Wroxeter where old colleagues can meet up for something to eat and a chat and generally reminisce about the old days.
“I spoke to The Wroxeter and asked if they had anything booked in on October 1 because that was the day of the merger and the most appropriate for us to mark it. They said they had a wedding on but would be happy to accommodate us and they did us proud.
“There was a meal, a slideshow of old pictures was played while we ate and it turned out to be a great day. I have a number of old photographs and it was nice that some people were able to fill in some of the blanks with names.
“We welcomed 79 people, 48 ex-police officers, their wives and partners and a couple of carers. It proved so popular that 14 new visitors from that reunion have said they would like to come along to our Christmas lunch.
“I did mention about fixing a date for the next 50 years celebration – but I fear someone else will have to arrange that!”
NARPO’s headquarters are in Wakefield and there are branches among current forces and those that have been swallowed up with amalgamation all over the country.
Mr Ashley said it was always nice to meet up for a meal and a natter with lunches regularly attracting between 50 and 120 people for their quarterly get-togethers.
“We are always keen to hear from ex-officers who would like to join us and, of course, these days that’s much more about those who served in West Mercia as our old Shropshire Constabulary numbers are dwindling,” he added.
“Our next lunch is on December 3 at The Wroxeter and if any retired police officer would like more information or to come along then I would ask them to give me a call on 07763 108730.”