Leeds nostalgia: How local policing has changed in 70 years

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Turn the clock back 70 years and the priorities for the police were much different. Yes, they dealt with serious crimes but it seems they also had time to put their full resources behind more minor crimes, as is the case with this week’s report from May 1947.

The case concerns the theft of a watch worth £40 from a man living in Reform Street, Dewsbury The case was heard at Batley Magistrates’ Court. It concerned 26-year-old labourer, who admitted stealing the gold watch from his brother, from their home in Norfolk Street, Batley.

Inspector Cooper, from Dewsbury Borough Police, said at the time that they had “put all their powers into operation” in a bid to recover the watch and, indeed, did so, discovering it had been sold to a local jewellers for £3 10s.

Upon said discovery, the labourer dmitted the crime, saying: “Yes, I pinched it and sold it for £3 10s.” He also admitted stealing carvers, a set of fruit spoons and six dessert knives, to the value of £1 10s, from his mother. Sentencing him, when he appeared at Otley, the magistrates jailed him for a whopping four months.

Another thing you probably don’t se today is people who find themselves on the wrong end of the law being praiseworthy of the officers arresting them but that’s what one man, summoned for driving without due care and attention, did in May 1947.

Despite being fined 30s, with 10s c said: “I would like to compliment the police on the very pleasant officer they sent to interview me. He was the most charming officer I have met, and he is a credit to them.”

He was referring to PC number 421, Constable Blyth, who is pictured above and who went to interview the Harrogate man before he was officially charged.

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