Police sergeant Dave Anning retires after 30 years on the force

By Contributor in Crime

A ‘WELL-known and respected’ face that has been keeping the peace in Tavistock for more than a decade and a half hung up his custodian helmet last week bidding farewell to the Tavistock policing team.

Sergeant Dave Anning was presented with various gifts from his colleagues as he retired from the police force after 30 years of service, including more than 15 in Tavistock — but his love of the job means he won’t be leaving completely and residents of the town will still be able to see him patrolling the streets in his new voluntary role as a Special Constable.

During his time on the force, Dave has had many roles, including as a constable, custody officer, force press officer and more recently, sergeant. He knows the area well, having been based in Plymouth, Launceston, Bude, Callington, Crownhill and Tavistock.

He was made sergeant in 1993 and despite living in Callington, he fell in love with the town in which he worked and decided to move with his family to Tavistock. He has since fully committed himself into life in the town, being involved in many groups and organisations, including being director of Tavistock Hockey Club and co-chair of governors at Whitchurch Primary School.

Dave said: ‘My time at Tavistock has been very special. It is a place that I genuinely love — I wouldn’t have stayed here so long if I didn’t. The policing team here and the local people make it great. We get to know the community very well and you can’t really do that in a city.’

He said one of the things he had been most proud of during his time in Tavistock was working alongside PCSO Kevin Williams to get a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) in the town — legislation that gives police officers discretionary powers to require a person to stop drinking and confiscate alcohol or containers of alcohol in public places.

He said: ‘We had a problem with large groups gathering in the park, mainly under 18s, who were drinking. We had no beat manager after Simon Raeburn retired and Kevin Williams, although a PCSO, took on that role for a while. Together we brought in the DPPO which meant we could take away open alcohol vessels. It has since made a huge difference and that’s why anyone can now walk through the Meadows at night, with no problems and feel safe.

‘Tavistock is a relatively safe place, which is the objective of policing here. The Neighbourhood Beat Manager Cathy Veale made a big difference — she’s doing the work of what was at one time covered by seven people. She obtained the town’s first closure order (the closure of a premises that is causing nuisance or disorder).

‘I’ve seen the very worst Tavistock has to offer and I’m still very happy to live here with my family and the policing team are trying their best to keep it that way. If you see anything that concerns you, let them know.

‘I chose to do this job and it was my way of exerting the most positive influence I could in the area in which I live. I have thoroughly enjoyed it — it has been a very positive experience.’

Evidently, Dave’s love of the job means he is not ready to leave the force completely and will continue working with the team as a Special Constable — a voluntary role with full police powers.

‘I knew that when I retired I would do some sort of voluntary work. The police force is shorter of staff now than it has ever been, so I hope to be able to provide some support to my colleagues and do some of the stuff I would have liked to have done but haven’t had the time to do.’

West Devon Police Inspector Mark Sloman said: ‘Dave’s very well-known and respected and is passionate about the town. He has been doing the job he enjoys and has been a real part of the community. The service Dave has provided to West Devon is immeasurable and the reason West Devon is deemed a safe place to live is largely down to Dave and the team. We will miss him dearly.’

Dave was presented with a cartoon illustration of himself with his team, created by PC Cathy Veale’s daughter Kirsty Marshall.

Sgt Dave Anning (centre) with his colleagues who presented him with gifts on his last day. Picture by James Bird.

The Times is replacing its Police Desk section with a whole page of police new called #newsfromtheblues — see page 54 of this week’s Times to see its first outing.

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