Town beat manager retires after 32-year police career

shs Jim Tyrrell

shs Jim Tyrrell - Credit: Archant

A long-serving police officer, who walked the beat in Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary for 14 years, has retired after more than three decades in the force.

Jim Tyrrell was part of the ‘visible face of policing’ in both towns, working as a rural beat officer in Ottery before becoming Sidmouth’s town beat manager.

Now aged 56, the dad-of-two is retiring to pursue his hobbies, as well as taking some time out to see more of the world.

Jim’s varied career has seen him assigned to a mix of rural and urban postings, including Honiton, South Brent and Exeter.

After training in Dorset and getting some experience under his belt, he was posted to Heavitree Road Police Station, where he spent 14 years.

The majority of his time there was as an incident driver, which meant he was responsible for attending emergency calls across Exeter.

Jim said: “My most notable arrest was that of a serial rapist, who had been attacking lone females in the early 1990s.

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“Enquires eventually led the police to an address, where I arrested the suspect who was subsequently convicted and given a long prison sentence.”

During his time in Exeter, Jim had a reputation among his colleagues for his ability to remember details that would link criminals to their vehicles and activities – a skill that earned him the prestigious Chief Constable’s Commendation in 1999.

“There was a wanted criminal at large, believed to be in the Exeter area in possession of a firearm,” he said.

“One night I spotted his car parked up – it had been circulated on a briefing a few days before.

“The following morning, an operation was set up and the criminal was arrested returning to his car – duly armed with a firearm.”

Jim was posted to Ottery in 2001.

He served there as a rural beat officer there for eight years.

Although it was completely different to city policing, he said the posting allowed him to get out and about and spend time speaking with residents.

Jim’s final posting in 2011 was to Sidmouth as the town’s beat manager.

It gave him the chance to forge links with local people and organisations – as well as spend parts of his days walking the beat on the seafront.

Asked if he would miss the job, Jim told the Herald: “The banter, my colleagues and the police culture, yes.

“The work – no comment!”

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