Town’s show of force to mark half century of station’s opening

Special event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bury St Edmunds Police Station.

Special event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bury St Edmunds Police Station. - Credit: Lucy taylor

Faces on the Bury St Edmunds beat from 50 years ago shared stories with the fresh faces of the force today at a celebration to mark the anniversary of the town’s police station.

The building in Raingate Street was officially opened on October 9, 1964, by Sir Charles Cunningham, permanent under secretary of state, as the new force and divisional headquarters for the former West Suffolk Constabulary.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the building opening, former police officers and employees who were based there, along with current staff, were invited along for a get-together and tours of the station.

There was also the chance to view police memorabilia and photographs covering all decades the building has been in use.

Chief superintendent Jon Brighton, county policing commander, said it was a really “special occasion”.

“For an organisation such as ours, which is an organisation which has changed with society to try and provide the best possible service for the community, it’s actually important to know where we have come from and spend some time to reflect back.”

He said the occasion also linked the “past with the future”.

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David Wood, from Stowmarket, and John Cullum, from the Bury St Edmunds area, were cadets at the opening in 1964 and returned for the anniversary event, meeting with new cadets.

“For me that’s really nice synergy,” said Ch Supt Brighton, who first worked at the Bury station in 1984 to help with the National Front march in the town.

Firearms officers, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and roads policing officers are all still based at the Raingate Street building, but the custody block is now in a state-of-the-art Police Investigation Centre (PIC) in Rougham Road, Bury.

The old custody suite has been converted into offices, Ch Supt Brighton said.

He described the key changes to the job of a police officer over the past 50 years as “technology, mobility and communications”.

Ch Supt Brighton, who is the longest serving Suffolk officer, said: “There’s different criminality now compared to 50 years ago; 50 years ago criminals lived locally and now there’s the threat of cyber crime so criminals could live in another continent, but local policing hasn’t changed that much.”

Mayor of St Edmundsbury, councillor Robert Everitt, said the police station was an “important part of Bury’s history”.

“It’s a pleasure to come and meet with the old police officers,” he said.