Ray remembers Redditch - the early days of the town's Grove Street Police Station - The Redditch Standard

Ray remembers Redditch - the early days of the town's Grove Street Police Station

Redditch Editorial 26th Oct, 2023 Updated: 27th Oct, 2023   0

A MANAGER in West Mercia Police’s Crime and Vulnerability Hub at Hindlip, has been reflecting on his time at Grove Street station in Redditch where he started out as a probationer officer.

Redditch’s police teams are now stationed at temporary offices in Kingfisher Shopping Centre.

Officers and staff will remain there until they move to the new Blue Light Hub site on Middle House Lane, Redditch, in a year’s time – that site will be shared with our partners at Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS).

PC 672 Ray Humphreys joined West Mercia Constabulary in 1977 and was posted to Redditch Police Station, which was then situated in Church Road.

The ‘new’ police station, as it was back then, was built in Grove Street shortly after he joined, opening in 1978.

Ray said: “As the station became a substantial building and the roof was put on, I and three other new probationers were tasked with carrying out security at the station, which meant full shifts.

“I remember vividly just how long those night shifts were as we patrolled the inside and outside of the building, and I wondered when I would begin proper duties on the streets.

“Such was the value and importance of this new “state of the art” building that the Chief Superintendent deemed it necessary to police it.”

Once the building was finished, Ray, together with fellow young single male officers, moved into the single quarters on the top floor – female police officers were not allowed to live in the same building as their male counterparts.

The rooms were small, but they were new and warm.

“There were no en-suite facilities in those days, just communal bathrooms,” said Ray.

“It was convenient for the organisation for us young single men to live and work in the same place, we even had our own car spaces along the rear wall, which is now dedicated to police vehicles.

“I have great memories of my time living in single quarters – we had free accommodation, free parking – and roll out of bed and you’re already at work, what was there not to like?”

As Ray’s career progressed, he became a Custody Sergeant at Redditch and eventually a Detective Inspector.

He moved around a little but returned to Redditch before retiring as a police officer some 15 years ago.

Ray then moved to a support staff post on the Major Incident Room (MIR) as it was in those days – now the Major Incident Unit (MIU) – and again was posted to Redditch.

“Like myself it had aged somewhat and was looking tired and in need of facelift,” added Ray.

“To my amazement the office allocated to me was next to the very room that was my bedroom all those years ago!

“Sadly, Redditch Police Station is no longer fit for purpose and the demands of modern policing, and its fate is sealed.”

Ray, who is now 64, spent his last day there last week – his 46-year career so far almost exactly mirroring the lifespan of the Grove Street ‘Nick.’

He added: “I am not ashamed to admit I had a tear in my eye as I left the building, and the memory of all the wonderful people I have worked with over the years and the experiences we have shared.

“I hope that all those who will now move into the new police station when built, will enjoy their time working for the organisation.

“As for Redditch Police Station – goodbye, you served us well.”

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