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‘I started, so I’ll finish with an arrest’

Last-gasp detention with the force – 22 years after collaring a crook on his first day in uniform

First day in uniform on patrol was meant to be a “watch and learn” process for rookie recruits at the end of the last century.

Part of the training instilled into a new constable was the noble art of observing police colleagues.

But when Alex Murray spotted a man assaulting a member of the public in an alleyway – that all went out the window and he leapt into action.

He didn’t even know the exact form of words to use when apprehending a suspect.

As he made his first arrest on Day One of his police career with the West Midlands force, he stole a familiar line taken from TV detective land... “you’re nicked sunshine”.

Fast forward 22 years and Met-bound Assistant Chief Constable Murray couldn’t let his last day with the force go by without a final flourish.

So keen was the ACC to get out on the streets – despite having already handed in his uniform – he borrowed one to join up with the Birmingham Organised Crime team on proactive patrols looking for people linked to gang activity and drug dealing. 

And the coincidences didn’t stop there, as among the members of the specialist unit was his friend PC David Tipton – the pair joining the force together in 1996.

The officers went into action on ACC Murray’s last day before starting his new role in London on Monday and stopped a Ford Focus in the Aston area of Birmingham.

A search of the driver’s bag uncovered a quantity of cannabis and heroin.

ACC Murray arrested a 31-year-old man who was later charged with possessing Class A and B drugs, plus driving without insurance or a licence, and is due to appear in court later this month.

He admitted coyly afterwards: “To be fair it probably should have been PC Tipton’s prisoner.”

So for ACC Murray, whose promotion to frontline policing with the Met will see him  lead on projects before moving to the role of Commander Specialist Crime later in the year, it was a question of “I started, so I’ll finish with an arrest”.

His final comment on departing the UK’s biggest regional force: “It has been a real honour to serve the people of the West Midlands for more than two decades and I’m now looking forward to a new challenge in policing.”

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