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Tavistock to get policing museum

Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:28

By Alison Stephenson, local democracy reporter

Some of the artefacts at Tavistock Police Museum (image courtesy: Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall

Artefacts from Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

A mini-museum celebrating decades of policing history in Devon and Cornwall will be officially opened in Tavistock in March with a special dedication to one of its founders.

The museum at the town’s Court Gate building in Bedford Square is the result of years of perseverance to find a premises where artefacts, documents and photographs charting Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s policing heritage can be displayed.

Devon and Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez will officially open the museum by cutting a ribbon on Tuesday 5 March after which a short dedication will be held to honour trustee Bill Tupman, who played a pivotal role in founding it.

Mr Tupman died last March aged 74, just weeks before the Court Gate lease was signed.

Pam Giles, a museum volunteer and trustee who retired from the force in 2003 after 30 years and was Devon and Cornwall’s first resident female police motorcyclist, said the search for a space had been on the wishlist for almost 20 years.

“It’s part of my life and it makes me emotional, because I know what’s in the collection, and now the public has the chance to see it,” she said.

The museum stores its collection of artefacts at Okehampton Police Station. Its archive of thousands of documents and photographs are kept at the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter. Many of the items have been saved from skips and tips.

Tavistock Police Museum. Image courtesy: Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall

The mini-museum is currently working towards achieving ‘museum accreditation’, where it must follow national standards in managing the collection.

Planned exhibits for 2024 include personal stories charting the history of the region’s women in policing.

Greg White, the chief executive of Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall  said: “Opening a museum usually takes years, but the team worked hard and shaved off several months to get the building ready for the public.

“We are really looking forward to being able to exhibit some of our unique collection and archive, which until now has been only available to the public by prior appointment.”

The Museum of Policing in Devon and Cornwall is a charity supported by the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner to collect, preserve, and share the history of policing in the region.

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