Insp Nigel Slater of North Yorkshire Police retired this week, ending a varied career spanning two decades to help his wife run a Ripon shop.
Insp Slater, 47, has committed 28 years to the force after deciding his job as a miner in the 1980s was an unsustainable life-long career choice.
“When I first started out as a miner, I thought ‘this will be a job for life’,” said Insp Slater, who joined North Yorkshire Police 23 years ago.”
“But when I realised the industry was not going to go so well, I started to think of alternatives, and ended up doing one of the most rewarding and fascinating jobs there is.”
Insp Slater – who has lived in Ripon for eight years with his wife and two children – joined the Warwickshire force in 1985, before working in the police control room dealing with critical incidents, working as a traffic officer, serving as a Sgt for six years in York, taking on the role of Insp at Scarborough and working as an Insp in the Hambleton district before returning home to serve as Insp in his beloved Ripon in January for the last leg of his career.
“I love the city,” Insp Slater told the Gazette on Friday, May 10 – his last day of service with Ripon police.
“It is a great privilege to be able to work in your own city and to be able to make a difference to people’s lives here,” he said.
Insp Slater now plans to spend his retirement working alongside his wife, Amy, who runs The Greenhouse florist on The Arcade in Ripon.
“I am a qualified florist and have always been very keen on flowers,” he said.
Insp Slater successor is Insp Steve Ratcliffe, of Harrogate police’s safer neighbourhood team.
“The most rewarding part of the job is when you make a difference to someone’s life, or when you think, ‘crikey, I’ve saved a life today!’” said Insp Slater.
He added that some of the most rewarding investigations he has worked on include the Great Heck rail crash in Selby in 2001 – widely regarded as one of the worst rail disasters of the twenty-first century in the UK – and the Marsha Wray missing mum enquiry in Harrogate in the late 1990s, which still remains unsolved.
“When I worked as a family liaison co-ordinator and inspector, it was very traumatic but also rewarding to help people,” he said.
And what tips would he give to young men and woman aspiring to become police officers?
“They need to have moral courage in the face of violence, and compassion – and remember most of the people they deal with are going through a traumatic experience.”