Tuesday 23 February 2021

Policewomen Z Car drivers on 90 m.p.h. Motor Patrol Duty (December 1966)

PW’s Jean Peck & Liz Garry (Nickson) with Austin Mini Cooper S Patrol Car

This is the text from a press article dated 22nd December 1966 :

Four policewomen - one of them from Darlington - have just completed a four-week police driving course. And  now they have two months to prove the worth of women
on motor patrol duty.

Elizabeth Garry from Darlington, Stationed at Washington, Jean Peck, stationed at Peterlee, Valerie Welsh, stationed at West Hartlepool, and Mrs. Ann Laing, stationed| at Stockton, all drive the 90-mile|an hour police Mini Coopers.
The idea came from the Chief Constable for Durham County, Mr. Alec Muir. The head of the traffic department, Chief Supt. William Harper, said that if it is a success, |policewomen might be put on motor patrol duty permanently.
“There is a large percentage of woman drivers, and they may feel more at home talking to a police-woman,” he said.
All the girls could drive before they took the Police Course-it was intended to teach them how the experts cope.
They also learnt something of the mechanical side,
If the experiment works, they may go on to take an advanced course at the Sedgefield Motor School.

Monday 22 February 2021

Death of Retired Police Staff: Elizabeth (Liz) Mitchinson

It is with regret that we have to announce the death of a retired member of Police Staff, Elizabeth Mitchinson, who died in Darlington Memorial Hospital on 11th February 2021, aged 90 years.
Liz joined Durham County Constabulary in 1959 and worked at Bishop Auckland Police Station as a typist, with most of her service being involved in the preparation of files in its Court Office.  After 31 years dedicated service she retired in September 1990.
Her funeral is to take place at Wear Valley Crematorium, Coundon at 3.30pm Wednesday 24th February (Covid restrictions apply). Donations if desired to the Great North Air Ambulance charity.
Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Book of Condolence at Police HQ re Janet Williams

Regarding the death of Police Staff (7947), formerly retired Police Officer (PC 1754) Janet Williams, who sadly passed away on 8th February 2021. (See website entry of the 13th Feb)

Durham Constabulary has set up an internal book of condolence, which is not accessible to anyone outside of the force.  It is therefore requested that if anyone has any messages they would like to be added to the Book of Condolence, they be forwarded either directly to Welfare Department, Constabulary Headquarters, Aykley Heads, DURHAM DH1 5TT, or to our Branch Secretary, Stuart Ingram at durham@narpo.org

Please clearly mark the message, Ref: Janet Williams.

First girl police cadets with Supt. Finlay : March 1959

Back Row L to R : Supt. S.M. Finlay, Liz Garry, Sheila Colter, Kath Wood, Val Welsh. Front Row : Sue Tait & Eileen Jackson

Durham County Constabulary's first girl police cadets : March 1959

Picture shows The Chief Constable (Mr A.A. Muir) showing County Durham’s girl police cadets weapons from the force’s Black Museum.

The text below is from the newspaper article with the picture from March 1959

“Six girl police cadets, were the first in the Durham County Constabulary were on parade at the Aycliffe HQ yesterday to meet the Chief Constable (Mr A.A. Muir).
Most of them joined the force last month and they were wearing their new uniforms. These are the same as those of County Durham policewomen except the cadets have berets instead of hats.
Mr Muir joking about the smartness of the berets, said he would probably have to change the policewomen over to them as well. He did in fact have the Durham policewomens uniform changed to a more feminine style about six months ago. The tunic now has fewer pockets and no belt. Later white blouses may replace collars & ties.
The six cadets , all grammar school girls were chosen by Mr Muir and Miss S Finlay the policewoman Superintendant from about 40 applicants.
They are Eileen Jackson from Darlington who is stationed at the Aycliffe Headquarters, Susan Tait from gateshead stationed at Whickham, Elizabeth Garry at Darlington, Kathleen Wood from Wolsingham at Hartlepool, Sheila Colter at Consett and Valerie Welsh, still at school.
Kathleen Wood is 18 and the others 17. Sheila Colter is the daughter of a policeman, Insp. P.H. Colter of Consett
The girls have so far been doing clerical and recording work in the police offices, but later they will be going out with policewomen on visits and interviews. Kathleen Wood said she enjoyed every minute of it. Eillen Jackson said she had always wanted to join the police force since she was ten, anyway "I really like it"
Hitherto a girl wishing to join the police force in County Durham has had to wait until she was 20, and perhaps take another job in the meantime and at 20 the constabulary has been unable to recruit enough girls of the right type. The cadet scheme is intended to fill the gap.”

Police Mobile Column ?

Any information of this photo please email durhamnarpo@gmail.com

Thursday 18 February 2021

Joseph Spencer and Harry Kirkup who were awarded the George Medal

Photo's of Joseph Spencer and Harry Kirkup who were awarded the George Medal. Text below from newspaper article.

4576 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 20TH JUNE 1961 : Awarded the George Medal:

PC Joseph SPENCER, Constable, Durham County Constabulary.
PC Henry Marshman KIRKUP, Constable, Durham County 'Constabulary.

Constables Spencer and Kirkup were on duty in a Police Patrol car when they received a radio message that three men using a motor
vehicle had. been disturbed while attempting to break and enter a Social Club.
At about 12.30 a.m. they saw the vehicle containing the three men. The officers gave chase and pursued the suspect car for a distance of about five miles at very fast speeds.
During the chase  twelve shots were fired at the Police car. The pursued car eventually crashed in a back street and the three men, each armed with rifles, got out and pointed their rifles towards the Police Officers whose car had drawn up behind. Undeterred, the Officers rushed forward to make an arrest.
A shot was fired directly at Kirkup  and the bullet passed through his uniform cap within two inches of his head. Another man fired at P.C. Spencer.
The 'Constables arrested one man on the spot. The other two men were arrested later.

Durham Police Cadets–Finlay House–March 1972

Photo of Durham Police Cadets, Finlay house from March 1972.

Cadet Commandant Hugh Blenkin (centre front) and the late Liz (Garry) & George Nickson who were tragically killed in a road accident in Scotland in July 1977

Saturday 13 February 2021

Death of a retired Police Officer : PC 1754 Janet Williams

It is with deepest sadness that we advise colleagues of the death of Mrs Janet Williams (7947) who worked as Resolution Adviser in the Complaint and Internal Investigation Team within the Professional Standards Department.
Janet previously served with Durham Constabulary as a police officer (PC 1754) from May 15th 2000 and served at Peterlee, Seaham, and Durham City retiring September 14th 2015.
She returned to the force in February 2016 initially in Intelligence at Durham City before moving into Professional Standards Dept.
Janet died in hospital on February 8th.
Our thoughts are very much with Janet’s husband John, their wider family, friends, and colleagues at this sad time.

Further to previous messages regarding the loss of colleague and friend Janet Williams who died in hospital on 8th February 2021 funeral arrangements are now confirmed as follows:

A funeral service will be held at 2pm on Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at Sunderland Crematorium. Due to current restrictions only those invited by family are able to be present for the service.

Any sympathy cards or messages can be sent to John and family via Welfare @HQ.   Janet’s niece has also set up a Just Giving page where anyone who would like to make a donation in memory of Janet can contribute      https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KerryParkin1

Our thoughts remain with Janet’s family and friends during this sad time.

Monday 8 February 2021


Due to the current restrictions, brought about by the Covid pandemic, our Annual General Meeting,
usually held in early January was unable to take place. As a result, we have sent out emails to our
entire membership for whom we hold addresses, with details of our Branch Officers, Committee and
vacant roles, together with a copy of the 2020 AGM minutes.
Copies of our annual accounts have not been generally circulated, but I can assure you that we are in
a sound financial position. Any queries regarding the 2020 minutes or accounts should be directed
to the Branch Secretary.
If you have any queries regarding these documents please contact our Branch Secretary at
Vacant Branch Positions are for an Assistant Secretary, Welfare Officer (1 nomination has been
received for this role) and 2 Committee Members.
The names of all Branch Officers and Committee can be viewed on page 4 of the Winter 2019 edition
of the Durham Peeler.
The current Officers and Committee, with the exception of Paddy Farrell (died 10 December 2020)
and Ches Brighouse (standing down), are willing to serve a further term.
The closing date for nominations for the vacant positions is Sunday 21 February 2021.
Hopefully all vacant positions will be filled and it is proposed that, subject to objection, all current
Officers and Committee will be re-elected en bloc.

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