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P.S. Beale’s Fine Record
Rushden Sergeant’s Retirement
Twenty-Seven Years’ Service without an Hour’s Illness
A Former Irchester Policeman

Police-Sergeant William James Beal, of the Rushden Force, terminated a long and honourable connection with the Northamptonshire Constabulary on Friday evening last, when he retires after 27 years and seven months’ service. Joining the County Constabulary on April 1st 1892, he was transferred in the following months to Rushden. At that time, of course, there was no Police Station at Rushden, and the local staff comprised Sergt. Onan (who afterwards became Inspector) and three constables. P.C. Beal, as he was then, was at Rushden during the making of the railway line, at which time there were naturally some rather rough characters about. All the prisoners in those days had to be taken to Wellingborough to be locked up, being sometimes driven in a trap and sometimes the policemen had to march them to Wellingborough on foot. Mr. Beale had many a journey of this character, in the night-time as well as by day, and he had had a good many walks back from Wellingborough at night by the fields. During the great strike in the boot and shoe trade in 1895, too, Mr. Beale was at Rushden. The strike lasted four or five weeks, and about 45 extra policemen were drafted into the town during the dispute. After three years’ residence in Rushden, Constable Beale was promoted to the merit Class.

On November 3rd 1897, P.C. Beale was transferred to Irchester, and in the following month he was married. He remained at Irchester until September 30th 1903, when he was removed to Burton Latimer, in succession to P.C. Currin, who had been stationed there for 20 years. Burton Latimer was the largest village in Northamptonshire in which there was only one police constable. White at Burton Latimer—in the year 1911—Mr. Beale was promoted to be sergeant, and he remained in that parish until June 6th 1913, he was again transferred to Rushden, where he continued to serve until his retirement on Friday last. Thus he finished his association with the Northants Constabulary in the place where he started it, spending in all about twelve years at Rushden. It is a remarkable fact that during the whole of his 27½ years in the Force he has never once had an hour on the sick list, which is a record for the Northamptonshire Constabulary.

Rushden, he says, is an altogether quieter, more respectable, more law-abiding place today than it was in his earlier days here, and there is nothing like the crime there used to be.

Among other notable events Ex-Sergt. Beale did two months’ service in the mining districts of Derbyshire during the great coal strike in the winter of 1894-95, being stationed in the neighbourhood of Alfreton. During the whole of his career, Ex-P.S. Beale has carried on his duties, which sometimes have naturally been of a not very pleasant character, with great courtesy and tactfulness, and he has deservedly gained the esteem of the residents of the town he has served so well and so efficiently. It is Mr. Beale’s intention to reside at Rushden for the time being at any rate.

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