Farewell party for retired cop - Inspector Peter Shepherd looks back on 40 years service to Camden
Published: 13 October 2011
by PAVAN AMARA
ONE of Camden’s longest-serving police officers was bid a fond farewell at a retirement party as colleagues recalled a career on the beat lasting more than 40 years.
Civilian worker Julie Holmes, who has known him for 10 years, said: “It is very rare to find someone in his position so approachable.
“Usually you can’t go over and talk to that kind of person, but Peter is the opposite of that – he’s got time for everybody, regardless of the fact that he may be a higher rank than you.”
After 41 years of service to the Metropolitan Police, Inspector Shepherd took part in a number of operations that left relatives concerned for his safety.
“I was shaking on 7/7, terrified for him,” his wife Sue said. “One of my colleagues told me what had happened, and I knew he was working in Russell Square that morning.
“I tried to ring his phone but I couldn’t get a signal because all the phone networks had gone down – but I didn’t know that at the time.
“I was beside myself, in tears, I thought I might lose my husband.”
Borough Commander John Sutherland talked about an incident years ago where Inspector Shepherd was part of a team of officers dealing with a hostage situation in central London.
“No one knew what on earth was going on,” said Inspector Shepherd. “The problem was that nobody knew whether they should pull the trigger or not if anything went wrong.
“We just didn’t know what we were doing, and I realised that at some point someone would be forced to make a decision, but we just didn’t know what.”
Among the challenges Inspector Shepherd faced were fake bombs in Hampstead letter boxes, tense situations with firearms, and dealing with the day-to-day goings on in Camden.
“The thing with dad is, he always wanted to downplay the dangerous part of it,” said son Will, 24.
“If we saw stuff on the telly, and said ‘Oh Dad that looks bad, you shouldn’t go out there’, he would say: ‘Oh no, you know the telly, it always looks worse than it is’.”
Inspector Shepherd joined the Metropolitan Police in the 1970s and quickly rose through the ranks.
“I’ll miss so many things,” he said on Monday. “It’s hard to narrow it down, but the big thing will be the people of Camden. They are a bunch of colourful characters – there is no denying that.”