Time to leave the beat for long-serving PC Dave
- Credit: Archant
A familiar face on the Sidmouth beat for the past 16 years has retired from the force, saying: “I don’t want to leave my mates, but it’s time for a change.”
PC Dave Wallace came to the town in 1999, back when the station ‘looked like something out of Heartbeat’, and soon found his feet.
He has gained a reputation for community policing and helped put in the legwork that led to some high-profile arrests.
“Everyone says ‘sleepy Sidmouth’, but it’s not really – plenty of things happen here,” said the 49-year-old.
“It’s only when you do a job like ours that you see all the things that go on, even though it’s still a nice town. There’s enough work for us!”
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He may not have always made the final arrest, but he put in the groundwork. Dave followed his nose and helped picked up the scent of a serial burglar – his ‘nemesis’ – who had repeatedly targeted Sidmouth.
He also recognised the modus operandi of a notorious gang hitting cars in beauty spots in the Sid Valley and many other South West towns.
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“I’ve got to know people,” he said. “If something happens, I can find out ways of getting to the bottom of it – not all the time, but some of the time.”
It hasn’t all been glory. Dave’s time in the town has also seen serious assaults and a murder, and he was the only officer at the scene when three people missing from a mental health facility fell to their deaths off Salcombe Hill cliff.
But he has been supported by colleagues who soon became his friends, and said: “The pros are working with people who you trust. They make everything worthwhile.”
He had been planning to retire after the summer, but after a chat with his wife, Nicky, he realised it was time for a change – and filled out his retirement form that evening. He plans to spend more time with her and his four-year-old son, Ted. Dave’s 27 years on the force are now over – his time in the Navy counted towards his 30 years’ service.
“It’s going to be really strange,” said the Salcombe Road resident. “It’s come very quickly. It’s a long time of your life.”
Dave’s retirement follows that of Jim Tyrrell last month, but reinforcements are on their way - Sidmouth will soon gain two new officers.