OFFICERS past and present gathered at St Helens Police station today to mark its 50th anniversary.

On Monday, September 17 1973, the Police station at College Street was officially opened bringing a new look to policing in our town.

Prior to this, and since 1839, the two previous headquarters had been annexed to the town hall.

St Helens Star: Officers past and present at St Helens Police stationOfficers past and present at St Helens Police station (Image: Police)

The first St Helens town hall was built in 1839 on New Market Street between Bridge Street and Tontine Market, but after suffering two serious fires in 1871 and 1873, this site was unserviceable and the current town hall started construction on Victoria Square in 1873.

The Police HQ was allocated to the West Wing bordering Birchley Street, signage can still be seen above the arch to this day.

It remained the police station for St Helens until the College Street move.

During its 50 years the force and the building itself have seen many changes – changing from Lancashire Police to Merseyside Police and also additional buildings added on, technological updates and of course vehicles used by officers daily have changed.

St Helens Star: The station in 1975The station in 1975 (Image: Police)

To reflect on this, officers from St Helens past, who are members of NARPO - the National Association of Retired Police Officers – returned to be greeted by Chief Inspector Paul Holden and ACC Ian Roy for pictures with former police cars dating back from the start of the station’s use and a celebration.

Denis Glynn, who was an officer from 1959 to 2002, recalled his time serving as a policeman.

He said: “The station is not too different from when I started, in fact, I was one of the officers carrying over all the files from the town hall station over to here before we opened, I was literally one of the first in here.

“It’s amazing to be back and look at the cars we drove then and be with former colleagues.

St Helens Star: The station in 1995The station in 1995 (Image: Police)

“I loved the job, I really did and I’m proud to be back.”

Anita Ashcroft, from Parr, was an officer for 32 years until 2010 and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for her role as the Prolific and Priority Offender Coordinator.

She said: “It’s great being back here today and it’s great to see the cars, I remember them like that.

“I loved my career, I’d do it all again and so much has changed for the better since when I started.

“There was one woman on shift at a time when I started, that quickly changed and we had equality to the men. Though many were more protective of us than we wanted them to be or we needed them to be, but over time that changed too.

“I was a young girl from Parr, loved where I was from and wanted to help my town. I waited until I was 21 which was the youngest I could be and joined and never looked back.

“It’s a fascinating career and this station holds many memories for me.”

Reflecting on the day, Chief Inspector Paul Holden added: “It’s been absolutely fascinating today being with the NARPO members, some of whom have been retired 20 plus years and welcoming them back to their station.

“We say the police is a family, and that’s very true. Like many of these officers, I’m from St Helens, I grew up in Blackbrook and wanted to do all I could to help my town.

“Hearing like-minded officers today recalling their experiences and seeing the old models of police cars has been great.

“Being an officer is a privilege. It’s not always an easy job but it’s always been a rewarding one, we don’t get days like this when we can reminisce, so it’s been great to be a part of it.”