Top cop retires after 30 years in the force

inspector Mohammed Nawaz at Sowerby Bridge Police Station
inspector Mohammed Nawaz at Sowerby Bridge Police Station

Lower Valley’s top cop is retiring after more than 30 years in the job.

Inspector Mohammed Nawaz of the Lower Valley neighbourhood policing team has been serving the area for the past four years.

“Ever since I remember I have always wanted to be a police officer. The first opportunity I got I joined as a special constable in West Yorkshire. I did a few years there while I was a student,” he said. “I do remember going to Bradford where recruiting used to be and they said my chest was too small. I was only 18 or 19 at the time.”

In 1983 Insp Nawaz started in Cleveland where he served the Middlesbrough and Stockton areas working his way up to sergeant. In 1996 he transferred to West Yorkshire dropping back to a police constable.

“At the time you couldn’t transfer in the same role but was it was a bit of a shock to be honest but when I look back I think I needed to be a PC to pick up the administrative tasks and paperwork. I was promoted back to sergeant within eight months.”

Inspector Nawaz covered the Bradford area. “My last shift I was working on the Ravenscliffe estate driving through and people were throwing stones and bricks at you. The next day I was driving through Sowerby Bridge and people were waving at me. I couldn’t believe the difference,” he said.

This was in 1999 when he was promoted to the sergeant for the Calder Valley. Following that he was promoted to inspector at Kirklees where he spent four years as the response inspector in Huddersfield.

He returned to Halifax and did around ten months in the same role before moving to neighbourhood policing in the Upper Valley and eventually to the Lower Valley to replace Insp Milly Wheelwright.

“It has been enjoyable although at times a demanding role that I do. There is a lot of responsibility but throughout my service I have never forgotten why I joined the job and that is to serve the public.

“I have always seen me and my team as public servants there to serve my public communities. What concerns them concerns us.

“I am particularly proud of the partnership approaches we take from here. I have always said that the success we have in the Lower Valley over the years is down to the partnership working. I have loved working with everybody and solving the problems as a partnership.”

He said this was part of the reason why the Lower Valley had the highest satisfaction rates and community confidence.

He said he has never had any regrets throughout his career. “It can be very demanding and challenging at times but a job I have always been happy to do,” he said.

Over the years, especially recently with the budget restraints, there has been a lot of changes especially with regards to support staff. “This has made us become more efficient over the years, a lot more demands are put on us but rightly so, that is what we get paid for.

“With the cuts we really have had to look at ourselves and what we can do better and we are still doing that. At the end of the day it is the taxpayers who pay for us.

“We are an accountable organisation and we have to count the pennies to make sure that it is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible. We have some exceptional police officers who will be up for the challenges in the future.”

The father of two who lives in Calderdale leaves his role at the end of July. “I will miss my staff and working with my partners because that has been one of the highlights for me, forging at times difficult working relationships but I try to be approachable and to understand the needs of the community while trying to meet those demands as best we can.”

He added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the Lower Valley.

“I am grateful for all the support people have given me and my team and may that continue with the new inspector Dave Shaw.”