Princess Anne opens Gloucestershire's new police base

Princess Anne meets with Deputy Lord Lieutenant Roger Deeks
Deputy Lord Lieutenant Roger Deeks met with Princess Anne

The Princess Royal has officially opened a new police operations base in Gloucestershire.

Princess Anne visited Gloucestershire Constabulary's new operations centre at Barmfurlong earlier.

She met members of the dog unit, mounted unit and various other specialist departments.

Her Royal Highness also opened and toured a new remembrance garden site, a place to pay respects to fallen officers.

Chief Constable Rod Hansen said it was "delightful" to have Princess Anne visit, adding it meant a lot to the officers.

He said the force deserved a new base to help them "recoup" from seeing "horrific" events when policing.

A women in a tweed suit taking off a plaque
Princess Anne unveiling the memorial garden to commemorate fallen officers


He said: "Our staff witness horrific events in society and many of them say they can never lose those images in their mind, and we can't unsee what we see, but we can provide them with a place of safety to come back to de-kit, to process the information and intelligence that they need for court, but also to process what they've witnessed.

"It is relentless and our staff deserve appropriate accommodation to reset themselves."

One of the fallen officers memorialised in the garden is Det Con Paul Pursehouse, who died when his patrol car overturned in the Forest of Dean in 1967.

His sister, Ann Freeth, says she feels extremely honoured that her brother will be memorialised in the garden.

She said: "I felt extremely honoured because it was a long time, 1967, when my brother was very sadly killed in a patrol car while he was on duty.

"Sadly, another quarter of an hour and he'd have been off duty."

A black and white photo of a man with black hair
Det Con Paul Pursehouse died in an incident in 1967

Acting Sgt Mary Beesley, based in Gloucester, lost her dad, Det Con Steven Jeffreys-Jones, when he was taken ill in 2007.

She said it was an "honour" to meet Princess Anne and have her dad memorialised in the garden.

Acting Sgt Beesley joined the police in 2014 after being inspired by her dad, who had worked as a police officer throughout her life.

"I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I think that's what we were both born to do," she said.

"I feel really honoured that he's going to be up there. This is somewhere that he worked for at some point in his career."

A women in a tweed suit meeting police officers with dogs
Princess Anne met many specialised units, including police dogs

Insp Sarah Blake, from the mounted unit, said it was "fantastic" to meet Princess Anne.

She said: "She's a lovely lady. It was very exciting to have that opportunity and for her to see our fantastic facility and our fantastic horses.

"We were talking about the different types of horsing that we use for policing and how they are used in policing.

"It is really nice for her to recognise that and see our horses in action and to see our fantastic facilities."

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