On the afternoon of Tuesday 15 February, the Mayor of Solihull formally welcomed Richard Critchley, President of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), to the borough. The two men sat down for a cup of tea in the Mayor’s Parlour ahead of a two-day NARPO event being hosted in Solihull at the Crown Plaza.
This occasion turned out to be of personal significance for the Mayor as they discovered each had served in the former West Riding Constabulary and trained at both Harrogate and RAF Dishforth under identical Instructors, although a few years apart. The Mayor served in both uniform and CID before moving to Solihull in 1970, whilst Richard Critchley went on to become an Instructor, Chairman of the Police Federation in West Yorkshire and enjoyed a successful Police career until retirement. Ironically, neither are native Yorkshiremen as the Mayor was born in London and Richard Critchley in Birmingham.
NARPO is a member organisation that represents more than 89,000 retired police officers and police widows and widowers from all forces and all ranks across England and Wales. With members of the Police Force unable to join a trade union, organisations such as NARPO and the Police Federation – a member organisation for active police constables, sergeants and inspectors – play a valuable role in representing and supporting their members in matters ranging from upholding professional standards to fair pay and pensions.
The Mayor of Solihull, Cllr Ken Meeson, said:
“My policing days are long behind me, but the stories and memories will stick with me always and it was good to share reminiscences with Richard of policing in days gone by.
“I’m sure many of my fellow officers, retired and serving, will know as well as I do the truly incredible and often memorable situations you can find yourself in on any given day of the week.
“Policing today is even more challenging and we have the utmost respect for those who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, combat crime and defend our freedoms.
“Organisations such as NARPO and the Police Federation are invaluable when it comes to supporting both active and retired members of our police force, and we are honoured that NARPO have chosen to gather this year in Solihull. I do hope they’ll come back!”