Sidmouth Sergeant looks back at time ahead of retirement
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 March 2020
Sidmouth Sergeant Andy Squires will wave farewell after 25 years on the police force at the end of this month.
Speaking to the Herald, ahead of his retirement at the end of this month, Sgt Squires looked back at his life and time with Devon and Cornwall Police.
Born and bred in East Devon, Sgt Squires was delivered at home in the village where his father was the doctor for nearly 30 years.
After he left school, he went into the motor trade at The Gearbox in Sidmouth - meaning his first proper job was 500 yards from his last job at Sidmouth Police Station.
After joining the force in 1995, he spent his first two years at Honiton at the end of which he received a commendation from the Chief Constable for exemplary service through his probation.
Sgt Squires said: 'I transferred to Exmouth on a response section.
'In 2000 I got asked to be the ward officer - which is a community constable - for Exmouth town centre.
'During that time I got three further awards - the first one was for the Devon and Cornwall Police Community Officer of the Year in 2004 and that then went onto a presentation and an award ceremony in London and I was given an award by Rt Hon David Blunkett who was the Home Secretary at the time.'
Sgt Squires said he was nominated as a Premier South West Champion and attended an awards ceremony sponsored by the BBC where he was presented an award by Noel Edmonds.
He added: 'I was also awarded a Community Watch Association award because I did a number of initiatives that got taken up force-wide and further afield.'
This included Operation Klink, where he asked local businesses to sponsor the purchase of 10 mobile phones to give to milkmen - a person no one suspects to be on the look out for dodgy goings on.
Other projects included Graffiti Watch, where children under 18 had to fill out a form when they bought paint cans which then helped the police to track people down if graffiti appeared.
Sgt Squires also started a police boat on the River Exe and ran another initiative where he gave a pager to each pub in the area, similar to Operation Klink.
Sgt Squires said: 'I got promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2006 and my first post was at Exeter custody unit at Heavitree road. I stayed there four-and-a-half years...
'I came out of Exeter and went back to Exmouth on the response section.
'In 2011 there was a force restructure and I went back to Honiton but running a response section for East and Mid Devon - I had about 17 officers on my section working out of five different police stations - Just over 900 square miles - and it was a 77-mile trip to go see them all.
'After that, in 2013, I was offered the post of Neighbourhood Team Leader in Sidmouth and soon after that Seaton got added to my responsibility and more recently Honiton and Axminister as well.'
During his time in Sidmouth, Sgt Squires has worked on numerous projects to help improve the town - this included helping to install a gate at Ebdon Court tackling anti-social behaviour, organising numerous Crime and Safety Roadshows - of which he feels the most proud - and the Shop Watch Whatsapp Group.
When asked what the funniest story he had from his time on the force, Sgt Squires said: 'I was investigating a burglary and I was upstairs going through the bedrooms with mum as to where they had been and what they had touched and she had a little toddler down the hall at the bottom of stairs and he was looking up at the me, a policeman, looking frightened so I thought I'd have a bit of fun to show him that policemen aren't scary.
'So I kicked a ball down the stairs at which point this little one burst into tears and went screaming into the kitchen.
'I apologised profusely and said I was only having a game and a bit of fun and she said 'Don't worry, it is just his hamster is in the ball'.'
Sgt Squires also said the hamster suffered no ill effects from the incident.
When Sgt Squires leaves the police he is hoping to start a new career as an off-road driving instructor, spend more time with his family and driving his recently-purchased Porsche.