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 Dedicated PC retires after 30 years


A BEAT bobby who has spent 30 years serving his communities is retiring.
PC Ian Craggs was inspired by his father – a Durham Constabulary special for 30 years - when he signed up as a special himself in 1989.
He took to the same Darlington streets his father did before becoming a ‘regular’ in 1991 and transferring to the Bishop Auckland beat.
During his time PC Craggs has worked in response and has spent most of his career in the Weardale area, even spending a stint with CID.
He has been a rep for The Police Federation for the last 15 years and as well as being named in the force’s WOW Awards, he was also given two Chief Constables commendations after rescuing a woman from a house fire and at a job where he was shot at.
Explaining the serious incident, which happened in Bishop Auckland 25 years ago, PC Craggs said he and his colleagues responded to reports of a man throwing items out of a bedroom window, while a scared woman and children were trapped inside.
However, when he got to the scene, the man started shooting at the officers, who took shelter under the canopy of the front door.
Having no option but to storm the house, the team broke the door down and helped the woman and children escape out of the back door before they were confronted with the gunman.
Instinctively, PC Craggs slammed the kitchen door on the man to protect the team and saved the day.
“There were no tazers, CS gas or stab vests then,” he joked. “But I have always loved helping people and trying to help out in the communities and making things better for the people that live there.”
PC Craggs officially retires on June 28 and plans to have the summer off and buy a boat before taking up a position with The Police Federation.
The 50-year-old said he would miss his colleagues the most.
“Durham Constabulary has been part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he said. “It really is a case of mixed feelings and until fairly recently I was not 100 per cent sure I was going to retire. I’m looking forward to a new beginning in a positive way but I’m going to miss the people, the routine and the stability.
“I’ve been getting busier and busier with the Federation over the last few years and I’m grateful to the chief for seeing it is a vital thing and allowing me to do what I need to do.”
PC Craggs’ colleagues have hinted they have some treats in store to mark his retirement although, as tradition dictates, he will be expected to provide his own cake.
And he has already had some visitors pop into the station to wish him well including residents Betty Wood and Joan Potts who have known PC Craggs for more than 20 years through their involvement with what is now known as the PACT team.
The ladies gifted PC Craggs with a bottle of whiskey and told him he is always welcome for a cuppa.
Inspector Ed Turner, of Barnard Castle and Crook Neighbourhood Policing Team, said PC Craggs is the “epitome of community policing” and he would be sorely missed.
“We will all be sad to see PC Craggs leave as he is a dedicated and integral part of the team but wish him all the luck in his new role,” he said. “I am sure it won’t be the last we will see of him.”