Ottery PC steps down after 30 years on the beat

Ottery St Mary Mayor Glyn Dobson makes a presentation to retiring PC Phil Thomas. Photo by Terry Ife

Ottery St Mary Mayor Glyn Dobson makes a presentation to retiring PC Phil Thomas. Photo by Terry Ife ref sho 0378-14-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Ottery’s long-serving police constable is retiring from the force after 30 years on the beat, only to return as a PCSO in three months.

Phil Thomas, who spent 16 years in the town, said he feels ‘he still has something to offer the force’, and wants to stay in the local community.

At Monday’s Town Council meeting a presentation was made to the PC for his service to policing in Ottery.

Councillor George Hansford hailed him as ‘the best police officer Ottery has ever had’, and Mayor Glyn Dobson said he will be sorely missed. But despite drawing the curtain on 30 years as a constable this week Phil will soon be back out on the streets, after deciding to re-train as a Police Community Support Officer.

He said he thought about taking up other employment, having done several house renovations with his wife over the past few years. But he wanted to carry on being a role model for his children, and continue going to work each day in his uniform.

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Having grown up in a single parent family in Manstone Avenue in Sidmouth, he attended The King’s School.

Pushed on why he joined the force as a youngster, he said he ‘saw it as a good career’.

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But asked whether he would make the same choice now, he said he probably would not.

“There’s no doubt the job has changed a lot, especially in the past five years, its become more target driven,” he said. “It has become more accountable, which is a good thing, but it’s also become more difficult to police with some of the legislation.”

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