Police officers and staff who have worked in Bury St Edmund’s police station in the past half century gathered there yesterday for its 50th birthday.
They included men who were police cadets in the guard of honour when Sir Charles Cunningham, permanent under secretary of state for the Home Office, opened what was then West Suffolk Police Headquarters in Raingate Street on October 9, 1964.
John Cullum was among those cadets and went on to meet his wife Gillian there and to become deputy chief constable. He recalled: “We got here on 10 August 1964 so work was still being finished. I spent a lot of my career here.
“It turned itself from a pristine headquarters for West Suffolk Constabulary into the main police station for Bury. In 1967, three forces amalgamated to become Suffolk Constabulary and at that stage we were in a police station in St John’s Street – what is now the library – but when they put cells in this building, we moved here. It wasn’t built with cells.”
Today, the cells are being adapted for other uses because custody is handled at the Police Investigation Centre on Rougham Road.
Another visitor yesterday was Roy Kitson, who was John’s sergeant when he was a PC. He recalled: “I was here for the opening. In fact we had the job of putting the furniture in.
“I’d worked in three different buildings but this was the first purpose-built police building.”
Chief Superintendent Jon Brighton, Suffolk’s policing commander, told the gathering: “I spent a good few years of my service working from this building and to see you all today means a huge amount.
“For an organisation that has to change with society, it’s really important to know where you’ve come from. It gives you a sense of purpose and direction.”