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PC Peter McCreedy and Supt Javad Ali to retire after 30 years with North Yorkshire Police
THIRTY years after their first shift patrolling York’s streets at night, two lifelong friends and police stalwarts pounded the beat together in the city one last time.
It was in 1982 that the now Supt Javad Ali and PC Peter McCreedy, of Selby Safer Neighbourhood Team, first met at Northallerton railway station.
Standing on the platform, they realised they were both heading to a police training centre for two weeks and struck up a conversation – sealing a friendship that would last the pair until their retirement yesterday.
On August 31 of that year, both Supt Ali, then aged 21, and PC McCreedy, then aged 20, began their first shift – a night shift patrolling York city centre.
“That is how you started back then,” said Supt Ali. “You had to walk the beat. It’s the best grounding that a police officer can get.”
On that first night, Supt Ali caught his first criminal red-handed. Spotting a lone man loitering, he carried out a standard stop and search and found the man’s pockets stuffed with trinkets he had stolen from a shop in Stonegate.
The man was arrested and convicted. PC McCreedy can also recall his first arrest like it was yesterday. A group of men had travelled from West Yorkshire and stole money from a fruit machine in a York pub. He caught the men with bags of 10p pieces near York railway station.
Both men would go to enjoy long and varied careers. Supt Ali started on the beat in York, moved to CID in Harrogate, and came back to York where he moved up the ranks to become superintendent, spending a lot of his career in CID before becoming Safe Neighbourhood Commander for Scarborough and Ryedale, where he would spend his final days in the force.
“I am lucky that I have had about 14 different careers in the same profession while I have been in the police force,” he said.
Notably in his career he was at the helm of major investigations including the murder of Daniel Wall and his friend Kevin Mulgrew in a Gillygate flat by heroin addict John Paul Marshall and the hunt for quadruple murderer Mark Hobson – a case that still haunts him today.
However, he says, the most notable part of his career is “getting in to North Yorkshire Police and actually being a policeman.”
“The most important job for me is the one Peter is doing. We join the police force to protect the public, prevent, reduce and detect crime and to keep the Queen’s peace. I hope the police force never forgets that.”
“I think for me I have enjoyed helping the victims – that’s what comes first.”
PC McCreedy also started on the beat in York on foot patrol and would stay in the city until 1987, when he then moved to community beat in Cross Hills, near Skipton, for two years before moving to Tadcaster and then back to York and Selby.
He has been chairman of the constable branch of the North Yorkshire Police Federation, has won numerous awards and commendations, and has been integral in the ongoing hunt for missing York chef Claudia Lawrence, the investigation into the body found in Burn Canal and a high-profile kidnapping investigation.
While both have worked on the high-profile investigations, both have encountered the “weird and wonderful” as well.
PC McCreedy recalls a criminal attempting to break into the back of McDonalds with a chisel whilst Javad can remember patrolling in Coney Street in York at a department store at night and spotting a burglar carrying a big black bin liner stuffed with his hoard over one shoulder.
“The only thing missing was the word SWAG,” he said.
Both PC McCreedy and Supt Ali have enormous respect for one another and have been life-long friends. Supt Ali even introduced PC McCreedy to his wife, Helen, also of North Yorkshire Police.
Last night, both men finished their last shift by returning to where it all began – a night patrol on York’s streets.
As they walked the streets together, both admit it is a different force today than when they joined. On their first shift, they recall they had “a tunic, a wooden truncheon and a pair of cuffs” rather than stab and bullet proof vests and other modern kit. They both maintain the best weapon is their mouth – being able to communicate properly has got both of them out of hairy situations.
But both said, given half a chance, they would do it all again, without a second thought. Supt Ali, who is taking the “gap year” he never had and wants to travel, said he would miss the camaraderie of his colleagues the most.
“It’s been a fantastic job and if I had the opportunity to do it all again, I would without even thinking about.”
PC McCreedy, who says he wants to work until “the day I die” is exploring a number of employment options. He said he would miss the variety of the job the most.
“In this job you never know what you can be doing in ten minutes time.
“You could be putting a ticket on someone’s car or you could be first on the scene of a murder.
“You have to think on your feet and your job can save lives. Not a lot of people can say that.”