Sat, 25 Aug 2018
THAMES Valley Police marked its 50-year milestone by welcoming visitors to its training centre for the force’s annual open day at the weekend.
Around 6,000 attended the popular annual event in Sulhamstead on Saturday, which was officially opened by Thames Valley Police chief constable Francis Habgood.
Large queues built up outside the arena half-an-hour into the event, with visitors eager to catch a close-up view of one of the force’s helicopters in action.
Guests were able to try on kit and sit in the vehicles and vintage police cars on display.
Proceedings kicked off with a display from the force’s dog unit, wowing the crowd in the main arena.
Spectators watched as dressed-up ‘criminals’ were caught by the specially-trained dogs, who, along with the public order team, showed how to catch suspects on the run and uncover illegal substances at the scene of a crime.
There were also displays from the public order team and the mounted section, with a chance to meet officers and their horses for a ‘pat and chat’ experience.
After last year’s success, youngsters once again dressed in their best police costumes for the fancy dress competition.
Alongside the many displays and stands, food outlets and local charities, there were talks covering topics such as major crime, answering 999 calls and how safer driving can save lives.
Guests could also drop by the pop-up force museum, which exhibited the significant changes that have taken place since the force was established in 1968 – a theme reinforced by Mr Habgood.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, he said: “It’s a really special day for us and a great opportunity for us to open our doors to people.
“It’s also an opportunity to reflect on how the basic elements of policing have changed.
“But with the new challenges we face, such as those with computers and technology, our mission is still the same – to protect the public.”
Donations from this year’s event will go towards Mind Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and the Police Dependants Trust, which supports serving and former police officers and staff who have suffered harm as a result of their policing role.