Memories of his life in the force

Colin Dawson pictured with colleagues.
Colin Dawson pictured with colleagues.

Being half an inch too short changed the life of former Doncaster policeman Colin Dawson forever.

That vital half-inch in height prevented him from joining the Lincolnshire Police because he did not meet the necessary height requirement of 5ft 10ins.

Colin Dawson, former policeman, from Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley D4445MC

Colin Dawson, former policeman, from Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley D4445MC

Originally from Blackpool, Colin had his heart set on becoming a police officer when he left school at 16 in 1962, only to be told it wouldn’t be possible because he was too short.

During the 19th and 20th centuries most police forces in the UK stipulated that their recruits had to be at least 5ft 10ins tall.

“Policing is a very important and worthwhile job, and one I always wanted to do so when I was told my height was an issue I honestly didn’t know what I would do next,” said Colin. 
Luckily, a Blackpool officer who had trained in West Riding told Colin the height requirement was an inch less to train there and wrote the budding police officer a recommendation letter which led to his acceptance for the West Riding force and the beginning of a 27 year long career,

Colin, now 63, started his three year police training in Eardby in 1962, which at that time was part of the West Riding borough.

New policeman Colin soon found a job as fully qualified policeman in Tadcaster where he joined a force of just seven other officers.

“At 19, I was the youngest policeman there, and I was also the only single one too, which was quite fun.”

“Everyone there looked out for one another which was nice,” he said.

Colin and the other Tadcaster officers were on a ten-pin bowling team called the ‘Bowling Bobbies’ at the Tadcaster Bowling Club which were always near the top of the league.

It was through this bowling team that Colin met his wife Pat Pollard, 73.

Pat said: “He was more interested in my friend than me when we first met, but eventually we started talking and the rest is history!”

The couple married in 1967 and moved to Goole where they moved into a police house, and later had two children Mark and Neil.

Colin’s police work moved the family to Wadworth in 1972 where he spent two years on motorway patrol which he says was quite exciting.

“I liked being out and about and I love driving so getting to work on the motorway patrol was good,” he said.

Due to his work in the community, the Wadworth scouts asked Colin if he would like to help out and he became a venture scout leader, a role he carried out for 13 years until 1985.

In 1975 Colin was promoted and began commuting to Rotherham.

“I was proud to have been promoted at the age of 29 but it was a very difficult job.

“Being responsible for so many officers at once was a massive challenge but one I enjoyed,” said Colin.

Colin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1989 and carried on working for as long as he could, but was forced to resign three years later.

During those three years Colin began raising money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society (now Parkinsons UK) and ran a half marathon for the charity.

The former officer explained that while he was fit and able he wanted to continue with his police work and charity fund raising but at the same time he felt that a police officer needs ‘to be able to the job properly’.

Colin decided to retire in 1992.

He was awarded with a medal for his 27 years of service shortly after retiring.