Officer steps onto beat for one final time

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A popular policeman walked the beat for the final time after three decades of catching criminals.

Sergeant Michael Bowden, who served the people of Todmorden for thirteen of those 30 years in three separate spells, is moving on to pastures new.

During his time with the police he has gone on countless drugs busts, found hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of assets hidden by criminals, taken hundreds of illegal road users off the highways of Calderdale and helped restore public order during the Bradford riots.

And Sgt Bowden, 52, put a lot of his success down to the help and support he received from members of the public - something he is confident will continue under his successor.

“I have really enjoyed my time here, especially the drugs busts,” said the married father-of-two, who lives in Elland.

“A lot of the information we have got has come from the community. People have got faith in us and trust that we’ll do something with the information they are giving us.

“The public have all the answers to the questions we’ll ever have. That’s why we talk to them and listen to them.”

Born in Edinburgh, Sgt Bowden joined the Metropolitan Police Force in 1984, before transferring to West Yorkshire in 1998. During the next 26 years he filled a number of roles - mainly within Calderdale - and met several high profile figures, including Prince Charles.

And Inspector David Shaw, of the Valley Neighbourhood Policing Teams, said Sgt Bowden will be missed by his colleagues.

“He’s going to be a sad loss - not just to Todmorden but to West Yorkshire Police as a whole,” said Insp Shaw.

“He’s the epitome of what a neighbourhood policing sergeant should be.”

Sgt Bowden, who is set to become a learning support worker at Rastrick High School, will be replaced by Sgt Neil Taylor.

Sgt Bowden added: “I’m sure he will enjoy working in Todmorden, it’s an incredible town!”