A BOBBY who has spent more than 40 years in the police service, and 39 of them in Derbyshire retired last week.
Pc Kevin Lowe of the Tideswell and Area Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team first started his career in Birkenhead as a police cadet in 1971 and became a constable in 1972.
He went on to cover Liverpool city centre, where he worked in a specialist role training in firearms and as an advanced police driver before transferring to Derbyshire Constabulary in 1978.
His first role in Derbyshire was on the beat in Bakewell and he was also a roads policing officer for 17 years.
Pc Lowe has seen many changes throughout his career. He said: “In the early days you had to walk everywhere and everything was written by hand with not a computer in sight. My first radio was in two parts, one to speak in and the other to listen from.
“We were also issued with the traditional wooden baton and a whistle; a far cry from the technology and personal protection equipment that officers have today.”
Pc Lowe went on to become the local bobby on the Tideswell and Area Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team in 2002 spending his time looking after the many villages in his patch of around 80 square miles of the Derbyshire Dales.
In April 2007, he set up Operation Blackbrook to target local concerns about the use of off-road vehicles and motorbikes in the national park.
As part of the campaign PC Lowe brought together off-roaders and concerned residents and local agencies to discuss the issues and encourage a more responsible use of the park.
Within the first year of the operation, complaints about off-roading reduced from 77 to 27 and the campaign attracted national interest, featuring on BBC’s Countryfile programme in December 2010 and most recently in a BBC Four series called Tales from the National Parks.
Pc Lowe also received recognition for his work in May this year, when he was named Community Police Officer of the Year.
Insp Bryan Hall, who is in charge of policing in the Derbyshire Dales, said: “Kevin was always a highly motivated officer with a strong sense of duty, integrity and fairness. He put his heart and soul into the job and always tried his very best to deal with any problem or issue to the best of his ability.
“He was passionate about providing the best service to the community and was highly respected by people in the Bakewell and Hope Valley areas where he worked. He was instrumental in providing a police response to the issue of off road vehicles in the area of the Peak District National Park and worked tirelessly through the development and coordination of Operation Blackbrook to try to manage this controversial issue so that the National Park can continue to be enjoyed by all.
“He will be missed but the important work around Operation Blackbrook will be continued in conjunction with all our partners which Kevin engaged so well with.”
Now that he has retired, PC Lowe will be acting as a relief driver for Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport.
Pc Lowe said: “I have had many experiences throughout my career, some joyous and some very sad. I have always done my very best to deliver the highest possible police service to everyone. I wish to thank all the people in the village communities that I have served and for their continued support.
“While I will be sad to leave my team mates behind, it is my time to go but I would like to pay tribute to the young men and women who remain as police officers and staff in Derbyshire. I wish them all the best of luck for the future and that they all stay safe.”
Pc Lowe’s last day of service was on Monday, October 31.