Derbyshire police cadets of the 1960s turn back time at reunion

Former police cadets who served in the Derbyshire force during the Sixties shared a lifetime of memories at a reunion.

Friday, 17th June 2022, 1:22 pm

Around 50 attendees from as far afield as North Wales and Macclesfield gathered at Chesterfield Golf Club. Those present included a former head of CID, a Chief Superintendent and an officer who at one point had been an exchange superintendent in The Hong Kong Police.

Guest of honour was Joyce Sandars, who was one of the support staff at the training department in the old police headquarters at County Offices in Matlock. Joyce was presented with a bouquet by the current Chief Constable Rachel Swann.

In her speech the Chief Constable thanked everyone for their service and the part they had played in the development of the force. She mentioned that they were all of the ‘baby boomer’ generation of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ that gave us The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Twiggy and Z Cars. Chief Constable Swann referenced events such as the first moon landing, the Cold War, Vietnam and the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. She also mentioned the great work being done by present day officers of the force as portrayed in reality TV shows such as Traffic Cops.

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Derbyshire Chief Constable Rachel Swann welcomed to the reunion of Derbyshire police cadets by Michael McElhinney, watched by other ex Derbyshire cadets.

There followed a Sixties quiz with questions on sporting occasions, music and world events from the time.

Reunion organiser Michael McElhinney: “Following a two-year delay and two postponements because of Covid the event finally went ahead. We are so grateful to the golf club who came to the rescue when force HQ at Ripley was unavailable due to Covid.”

Old photographs were on show as former colleagues swapped stories about their careers and lives since they were cadets. There was even an old restored bicycle from the Road Safety Demonstration Team and at least six former members of the team were present.

Michael said: ”The reunion came about following an initial idea with fellow ex cadet John Slater about having a get-together of the old Derbyshire Constabulary Road Safety Demonstration Team where cadets basically were used as cannon fodder in staging road traffic collisions between police patrol cars and cadets riding bicycles or dressed up pushing prams with babies (dolls) that went flying etc. Obviously Health and Safety wasn't such a consideration back then! Then we thought we would extend it to all the cadets we were with at that time before finally deciding to invite all former cadets from the whole of the 1960s.

"My friend John later went on to become Senior Scenes of Crime Officer with the force. I ended my police career on secondment to the Home Office writing the Police Promotion Examinations. We also had a former diving supervisor of the Underwater Search Unit. Another had the job as a Special Branch officer of escorting a deportee to St Helena in the South Atlantic. It took 18 days and remains as the longest deportation on record.

“Most served their full term but a few left early including one who went on to become a school headteacher.

“One is still a very active Level 5 senior county football referee.

“Another was awarded the MBE for his services to scouting.”