AN ILKESTON police officer who once caught a burglar in the act and held on to him until back-up arrived has looked back over a 30-year career.
Pc Colin Newton – also known as ‘Musky’ – was awarded the Derby Divisional Commander’s Cup and named Officer of the Year 2011 at a ceremony last week for his outstanding contribution to the force.
According to his inspector, the 49-year-old is set to leave ‘some big shoes to fill’ at Ilkeston Police Station when he retires from Derbyshire Constabulary in July.
This week Pc Newton, who is also a dedicated Scout leader, told the Advertiser about the changing face of policing in the town over the 27 years he has spent here as a bobby on the beat and his current role as intelligence officer.
“I have always said Ilkeston is one of the best learning stations you could get,” he explained.
“There is such a wide variety from poaching through to domestic violence right through to serious crime like armed robberies and even murders.”
He hit the streets in Ilkeston in 1981, covering both the town centre and the rural area around the town.
One of his most memorable jobs came during his seven years on the rural patch when a call came in about a burglar alarm sounding in Stanley Common.
“I got there expecting it to be a false alarm,” he said. “But I could hear somebody bumping around inside the house.”
He called for back-up and sat in wait in the porch for the burglar.
“I knew where it was because it was on my patch but I wasn’t sure anybody else would,” he continued.
“All of a sudden the burglar started climbing out of the window so I jumped on him and handcuffed him and waited for ten minutes before back-up arrived.”
He has seen changes both to policing methods and the types of crime he has encountered in the town over the last three decades.
He said: “When I first started, on a Friday and Saturday night I’d come on duty at 10pm and just stand on the Market Place watching and waiting for trouble.
“We don’t need to do that anymore. But the crimes that come up now that we didn’t have before are computer crimes, identity frauds and computer-based sex crimes and harassment.”
He explained that when he started he spent four years on foot patrolling the town centre streets – and even the rooftops.
“I was stood looking down on to Bath Street in the early hours of the morning when I saw these blokes carrying a TV from out of Curry’s.
“From where I was stood I was able to direct the cops on the ground to the burglary.”
He added: “These days, new cops get a car straight away.”
Insp Nick Daines paid tribute to Musky this week.
“It will be difficult to replace him – you can replace people but you can’t immediately replace the knowledge and experience that goes with them,” he said.
“Whoever comes in his place will have some big shoes to fill – whenever a name comes up he will be straight on it and he can tell you, not only all about them, but also about their parents and grandparents who he had arrested 20 or 30 years ago.”
After his retirement Pc Newton is looking forward to focusing on his work with Ripley and Heanor district Scouts and is travelling to Switzerland with the group in August.
“I have worked all my life – being a copper is a way of life,” he said.
“It’s not just a job to earn a wage, you’ve got to want to catch bad guys and help people. It will be sad to go and I will miss that part of the job.”
n Also nominated for the Derby Divisional Commander’s Cup was Ilkeston cop Pc Adam Price.
Insp Daines said: “He has just got a phenomenal work ethic and arrest rate.
“He is living proof that there’s no such thing as a lucky bobby.
“He comes up with some fantastic results.”